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Making Jams and Jellies

Extracting Juice for Jelly

Preparing the Fruit

  • Unless using added pectin, use ¼ slightly under-ripe fruit and ¾ just ripe fruit. If you're adding pectin, you can use all ripe fruit.
  • Prepare fruit in small batches, enough for one recipe.
  • Sort the fruit, discarding all damaged portions.
  • Wash fruits, but do not remove skins or cores, since the pectin is more concentrated there. Cut into small pieces.
  • Wash berries carefully to prevent loss of juice. Drain, remove caps and stems.

Extracting the Juice

  • Place fruit into a flat-bottomed saucepan and add cold water. For apples and other hard fruits, add up to 1 cup per pound of fruit. For berries and grapes, use only enough water to prevent scorching. Crush soft fruits to start the flow of juice.
  • Bring to a boil on high heat. Stir to prevent scorching.
  • Reduce heat.
  • Grapes and berries need 10 minutes or less to cook until soft. Apples and other hard fruits may need 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the firmness of the fruit. Do not overcook; excess boiling will destroy the pectin, flavor and color.
  • Pour everything into a damp jelly bag and suspend the bag to drain the juice. The clearest jelly comes from juice that has dripped through a jelly bag without pressing or squeezing.
  • If a fruit press is used to extract the juice, the juice should be restrained through a jelly bag.

NOTE: Juicy berries may be crushed and the juice extracted without heating.

Using a Jelly Bag
Using a Jelly Bag

This document was adapted from "So Easy to Preserve", 5th ed. 2006. Bulletin 989, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens. Revised by Elizabeth L. Andress. Ph.D. and Judy A. Harrison, Ph.D., Extension Foods Specialists.

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