Very busy morning today. It has been so hot and humid afternoons that we have started getting up at 5:30 so we have time enough to get our work done before noon. Today we got up early and I was out front planting my new flowers just before 6. Yesterday we went to the farmer’s market and I got some new annuals for my front gardens. I got 9 zinnia and 9 coleus . I weeded the boxes and watered the soil well yesterday and this morning I phis lanted the new plants.
This plant works better here and the other will be better in the large pot. I have cut back some branches and dead headed others so it is already looking better.
When I finished that I went to the garden and picked the raspberries. I was still working there when Norman got home from his walk so he helped me finish that up before we started breakfast. We got a little over 3 quarts. This is the most I get any day. Right after breakfast I started making jelly.
First you wash the berries, then mash them and bring them to a boil. I added 1/2 cup of water to get the juice heated without burning. The more water you add the more you have to boil off before it jells so I add as little as possible. I never add pectin when I make jelly and raspberries don’t have a lot of pectin like grapes do so the less water you add the better.
This is how they look, you don’t have to boil long just enough to get the juice out of the berries. Notice the off color, that is the impurities, if you skim most of them off here you don’t have to do it when you boil the juice later. I use an old milk skimmer to do this. The next step is to strain out the seeds. I use a muslin bag so I can squeeze the bag. The directions call for cheese cloth but you can’t squeeze the bag with cheese cloth because the pulp gets into the juice as well as the seeds but with the muslin I can squeeze all I want with no harm to the juice.
While this was cooling enough for me to handle I made the bread. We finished the last of the whole wheat bread last night so I had to make more today. I got that on to rise and the measured the juice and got the pans ready to make the jelly. Before I started that I went up stairs and put the left over beef stew into my warmer along with the left over zucchini from yesterday. Once I started the jelly I could not leave it to get dinner ready.
I got a little more than 6 cups of juice and that was way too much to put into my largest pot to boil so I divided it into two lots of 3+ cups each. For each cup of juice you add one cup of sugar. This is one batch- these are four cup measuring cup. I measure the juice, put that into the pot and measure the sugar in that same cup so the sugar gets all of the juice without having to rinse it with more water.
This is the pot I use to make the jelly, the one on the left. It is a 5 gallon pot. I know it looks awful big but when you make jelly it boils up so much it takes a big pan. This one will hold only 3 3/4 cup of juice and any more it will boil over and you have an awful mess, that is why today I had to make the jelly in two different batches.
This is how little there is in the pan, it hardly covers the bottom of the pan and when I put the thermometer in it takes quite a while before it can get low enough to hit the juice. Then you boil the juice until the thermometer reads 220 degrees.
It as easier once the temperature rose to 115 degrees so you can see the thermometer I use. You can also see how it bubbles up and by the time it reaches 220 the bubbles almost reach the top. When I tried to use almost four cups of juice I have had to keep breaking the bubbles on the top so it didn’t boil over. I didn’t get pictures at the end as I got too busy. When it reached 220 I had to check to make sure it was sheeting and today I had to get to 221 degrees before it was sheeting good. Then it is a big rush to get it into the jars before it sets. I got three jars of jelly and got them capped then added the second batch of juice and sugar. These are the six jars I got in all and 1/2 cup more at the end. If you don’t
make sure it is sheeting you may get a syrup instead of jelly and if you boil it too long you get a hard jelly more like a jelly bean than jelly. Either way can be fixed, if it is too runny to jell just cook it again and get it up to temperature, if it is too hard put it back in the pot and add some water and cook it again. No harm done but it does take more time. While I was doing this Norman was out in the kitchen garden weeding.
And put that up stairs to rise again. These are the cookies I made except for the last pan which was in the oven when I got the bread into the pans. You can see the bread in the pans waiting to be covered to rise and one rack left there to put the last pan of cookies on. With that my mornings work was done and we had ten minutes to sit down and rest before putting the dinner on the table. I cooked the bread after dinner when it had risen well and we had fresh bread with peanut better and raspberry jelly and cottage cheese for supper. I spent the afternoon reading my new Solid Geometry book. Have a great day!