I've said this whole time that everything in my garden could fail, as long as the tomatoes survived. Let me tell you.....they tasted SO STINKIN' GOOD!
Now. Onto some jelly making! Yesterday I made apricot preserves, so that will be the recipe I give you. Well, most of the recipe. I'm giving you the original recipe. I've toyed with it and added a few things to make it uniquely my own. And I'm a very sharing person...unless it is my secret recipes.
The very first thing you want to do is wash your empty jars and the lids. Next, fill a canner or pressure cooker with enough water to cover the jars by a couple of inches, and get that on the stove. It takes awhile for these pans to heat up! Go ahead and put the jars in, but don't put the lids in yet.
You will need enough apricots to make 4 cups of puree, so get a good pound or two. The more ripe they are, the better the preserves will taste, and the more preserves you will be able to make, so be sure they are super ripe. Wash, cut, and quarter the apricots. Next, puree them, and measure out 4 cups.
Pour them into a big stew pot. You want it to be pretty deep, because once that stuff starts boiling it will pop out, and hit your hand. And it burns. Bad.
Next, measure out 7 cups of sugar into a separate bowl. (Really healthy, I know.)
By now, the water in the canner should be boiling. I move mine off the stove at this point, and toss the lids in. (You don't want this lids to actually boil.) The canner and the water will stay hot, and it is important to keep those jars hot.
Put the apricot puree on the stove over about, oh, medium to medium high heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, then add 1/4 Cup of lemon juice and all the sugar. Stir often, and bring this mixture up to a rolling boil. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly!!!
Remove the pan from the burner, and pour in one package of liquid pectin. Most times, the mixture will begin to gel on its own, but I add this anyway to ensure that it gels! Stir well, then put it back on the burner. Bring it up to a rolling boil again, and boil hard for another minute. Exactly. Time it. ONE MINUTE. Too long, and you will over cook the pectin. To little, and it won't set! After that minute is up, remove the pan from the burner and set aside. At this point I pull the jars and lids out from the water and set them on a clean towel to dry. Place the canner back on the burner to heat back up.
Your apricot mixture will most likely have a lot of foam on the top. Just grab a metal spoon and skim it across the top. The foam will come off easily. (I save the foam in a small bowl. And then I eat it when no one is looking.)
Now it is time to start filling the jars. Make sure you use a funnel, or it will get super messy.
Fill the jars up to within 1/4 inch of the top. Once they are all filled, wet a clean towel and wipe the rims. If there is jelly on the rims of the jars, they will not seal properly, and this is about the most important thing of all. Now, place the flat lids on each of the jars.
Put the rings on also, and hand tighten. Each jar needs to go back into the canner. After you have put all the jars in the canner, check to make sure the water still covers the jars by at least an inch. If not, add more water. Bring this back up to a boil. When it hits the boiling stage, set a timer for 10 minutes. Once the time goes off, turn off the heat and start pulling out the jars. Leave them sitting on the counter, and resist the urge to mess with them! You will hear a popping noise throughout the day, which is ok. It is just the jars sealing as they cool!
Once the jars are cool, its time to label, and there you go! You have several jars of delicious apricot preserves!
I hope this made sense. I'm not the greatest at taking what I know in my head and putting it into a logical method. At this point, I have made jelly so much that it is habit more than anything! You can learn more about canning just about anything a www.pickyourown.org. I love that site!
If you have any questions, be sure to comment and I will do my best to answer them! Then again, if you don't feel like going to all the hassle of making your own, just holler at me. All of mine are for sell for $5 a jar, and I can certainly ship! Be blessed!