Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Canned Nectarine Plum Jelly

Stone fruits! Who doesn't love em?

I love it when I stumble upon something delicious! Honestly, I have been a little busy quilting lately and have been juicing my fruits and saving them in the freezer until I had time to make jelly out of them. I had juiced my peaches and tried to make jelly out of the peach juice. What a mistake! Peaches do not juice well. There is not much flavor. Save your peaches for the Peach Maple Syrup recipe that is coming soon. Pit them, slice them and freeze them. 
Now, nectarines and plums make a nice juice! Nectarine juice is sweet while plum juice is sour. I suppose you can buy the juice already made from the grocery store, but I highly recommend juicing yourself. The flavor is so much better, especially if they are locally grown. I use a steam juicer that was gifted to me.
I like to buy the steril gallon jugs of water made for babies. Not only is the water good for the steam juicer to prevent hard water/mineral buildup, you end up with a jug to store your juice in.
The great thing about the steam juicer is you don't have to cut your fruit up, pit them or do anything to your fruit. Wash them in water and a little white vinegar, and place the in the juicer. Most of my clients prefer plum jelly over plum jam, so I juice all my plums anyways.
Makes about 4.5 pints... 
What you need:
3.5 c nectarine juice
2 c plum juice
(If you don't have enough juice, add apple juice until you get 5.5 cups)
6.5 cups sugar
1 box powdered surjel 
1 tsp butter - to reduce foaming
Timmer set up within reach to time 1 minute
Necessary canning supplies: water bath canner, canning jars, new lids, rings, etc...

Start the water bath canner with enough water on high heat so it can start to boil, add a little vinegar (about a tablespoon or two) to reduce hard water/mineral buildup.

Pre measure sugar in a large bowl and set aside. In a large saucepan on high heat, add exact measured juice, butter and the entire packet of surjel. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the juice is boiling vigorously. It will have a white/lighter appearance from all the bubbles and the boiling doesn't stop when you continue to stir.
It's getting there... But it's such a pretty color!
Once it is boiling vigorously, dump the sugar in the saucepan all at once, and stir. Stir constantly, alternating between a figure 8 motion and a circular motion, do not walk away. Watch the liquid until you see it start to boil. Keep watching it and stirring it constantly. Start your timer when you can not stir the boiling down. Watch it, you will notice it when it changes from a regular boil to a vigorous boil... Hard to explain... Just watch...

You want to time it for exactly 1 minute. Remove from heat and continue stirring it until it stops boiling. 

Set wooden spoon aside and let the saucepan sit for about 30 seconds. This will allow the 'foam' layer to jell and makes it easier to skim off the top. 

Ladle into prepared canning jars, 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe the rims with a washcloth. Place flat lids on top and finger tighten the rings (do not palm tighten-you want air to escape the jars as they heat up in the water bath canner).

Place filled jars into your now boiling water bath canner. Make sure the jars are covered on top by 1 inch or more of water. Once the water starts boiling again, set the boil time for 5 minutes, adjust the time for the recommendation according to the altitude chart. Of you're unsure of your altitude, download the altitude app on your smart phone. An example: I'm at an altitude of 6,100 feet, I will water bath my jars for 20 minutes.
If you are doing multiple batches, start each time with a clean saucepan, spoon and ladle.