Amount to Gather: One gallon (4 quarts) or about 4 ½ pounds of mayhaws will yield about 12 cups of strained, flavorful juice, enough for three batches of jelly. Two quarts of mayhaws cooked will yield 6 cups of fruit and about 2 cups of pulp when the drained fruit is put through a food mill.
Cooking Mayhaws for Juice, Jelly or Syrup: The most important thing in making jelly is to begin with a juice (jelly stock) that has a full-bodied, mayhaw flavor. If too much water is used in cooking, the unique fragrance and taste will not match up to what is expected in quality jelly.
To Prepare Juice or Jelly Stock: Sort mayhaws, removing decayed fruit and trash. You can leave the tiny stems and dark blossom end on the fruit. Wash thoroughly. Measure or weigh fruit and put in large saucepan. For each gallon (4 quarts or about 4 ½ pounds) of mayhaws, cover with 3 quarts (12 cups) of water. For 2 quarts of fruit (a little over 2 pounds), cover with 6 cups water.
Bring to a boil, cover and cook gently for about 30 minutes. Cool and drain juice first through a colander, pressing fruit lightly with the back of a spoon. Then strain the juice through two or three thicknesses of damp cheesecloth, through a jelly bag or a clean thin white cloth. Leave the sediment which settles to the bottom. From 1 gallon of mayhaws you should have about 12 cups of strained juice.
Freezing Mayhaw Juice
It’s easy to freeze the juice for making fresh jelly year round. Put 4 cups of juice (for one batch of jelly) in an airtight container--glass jar, rigid plastic container or heavy plastic freezer bag. Leave ½- inch headspace in rigid containers or 1 inch in glass jars to prevent breakage.
This document was adapted from "The Mayhaw: Out of the Swamp and Into the Orchard," Ruth M. Patrick, Ph.D., LDN, Extension Nutrition Specialist, 2002. Pub. 2484, LSU Ag Center Research and Extension, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.