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This is not a kid’s dessert jelly out of a packet. It is a spreadable jelly for toast, bread, scones and the like; it is a variety of jam. The juice extraction technique I learnt from the French Tart in her recipe www.food.com no: 299326. The method is simple and the results will give you a clear, delicious jelly.
- Hull all fruit and chop large strawberries into smaller pieces.
- Wash the strawberries thoroughly. Fast running cold water works well if the strawberries are in a colander.
- Weigh prepared strawberries and mix together in a large bowl with an equal weight of sugar.
- Leave covered by a cloth for 24 hours with an occasional stirring until all the sugar is saturated with juice. If you wait another 24 hours or so the fruit will continue to shrink as more juice is sucked out of it by the sugar.
- Strain the fruit out of the mix and into the saucepan in which you are going to cook it using a wire sieve or chinoise. The usual technique of straining through muslin will not work because the syrup is already too thick.
- Scrape all the saturated sugar into the cooking saucepan (see Note 1 below).
- Add lemon juice strained through a sieve to strawberry syrup.
- Using the manufacturer’s instructions add the commercial pectin to the mix for the approximate weight of the prepared strawberries – not the combined weight of strawberries and sugar.
- Stir the mix over medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved increase temperature to high and stop stirring.
- Once the mix is at a rolling boil which should be about 10-15 minutes start testing for set. Set will be slightly below the set temperatures of 220F/106C for ordinary jam if you are using a sugar thermometer. See note 2 alternate for testing method which I use in this case.
- Once set has been achieved take saucepan and immerse base only in quite hot water in the sink. This is to prevent mixture from continuing to cook which it will do as the water in the sink will be a lot cooler than the hot jelly.
- Allow to cool and fill sterilised jars with the jelly.It will make about 3 cups.
- 1 Make sure the saucepan is quite deep as at some point the boiling syrup is likely to bubble up like boiling milk.
- 2 Test for set by placing 3 tea saucers in the freezer. Put a teaspoon of the hot mix into a saucer and put it back in the freezer for a minute. Take it out and run your finger through the cooled mix.
- If it wrinkles up a bit and does not flow back it is set, if it is not wipe saucer clean, replace saucer in freezer and keep testing until set has been achieved. Do not take too long between tests as set can come about within 2 or 3 minutes. If you stop cooking too early and the jelly turns out to be too runny that is OK because re-boiling can fix that; the pectin manufacturer’s instructions probably has tips on what to do. Over-cooked jelly is not very nice and there is very little you can do about it except learn.