Sunday in the Garden this week is about how to do the least favorite thing we do as canners -- re-setting jelly. It's a necessary evil, but you hope it's few and far between.
Because making jelly is sometimes very difficult, and over time, you learn to minimize mistakes, because correcting them takes valuable time. And you're ALWAYS looking for ways to save time. So, in this post, I show you what to do at key points to save a boatload of time. In this case, by preventing boil-overs, which demand massive cleanup.
Making jelly is also messy and sticky at best because it involves sugar and liquid that becomes syrupy. Boil-overs are unfortunately common, because in order to activate certain chemicals during the boiling process, you have to bring the liquid to a hard boil. That means boiling on high heat for several minutes, ideally bringing the boiling, foaming liquid to as close to the top of the pot as possible without going over. And different fruits have different heights they reach. Peach jelly is one of the foamiest varieties, while blackberry, not so much. It's more manageable.
Dandelion jelly is the Masterclass Graduation Project for the Jelly-Making Master's Degree on it's own, let alone without having to re-set. If you are doing it right, you are picking the dandelions by hand (it takes at least 200 heads), cutting the yellow petals off instantly and covering 2 c. of petals with boiling water within the hour to retain the natural yellow color and light, honey taste. Then, you let the dandelion tea sit for 24 hours, then drain it, add lemon juice, sugar, and boil, then add pectin. Hard boil again for 2 minutes, let cool, and ladel into jars. You can tell at this point whether or not your jelly is going to set nicely. That's what I thought I had until I looked at the jars the next day after ladeling, and that was not the case. The jelly was runny. Syrupy runny. Ugh!
So, you're in for a TREAT! Because the first go-around didn't take, and I had to re-set the batch. Ugh! The entire process is captured for your Master Education. Enjoy!
*NOTE* for extra credit, and extra practice, see Making Grilled Peach Jelly here: