Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chichiquelite and Grape Jelly

Today I had time to make some jelly. I didn't really have the time to spare, but I took it anyway. Sometimes you have to just "Do it, anyway". The fence is not finished, but it is at a place where Buck is running free now, so we can slow down a bit. The chichiquelites are producing very well and I had to do something with the berries or lose them.

I made jam. I made grape jelly from Welch's grape juice and I made a combination chichiquelite and grape jelly with the berries and the left over juice. Both turned out to be delicious, although the grape jelly did not gel. I made is exactly according to the directions in the pectin box, but that doesn't surprise me. I sometimes have problems getting the pectin to gel properly. Its finicky stuff and a tricky worker. The acid balance and sugar amount has to be right or it doesn't work. I used the recipe on the paper that comes with the pectin, followed exactly, and it still didn't gel. It will have to be done again. Oh well, its only half a dozen pint jars.

Lately I have been making jam with gelatine and am finding it much easier and more foolproof. It always gels, sometimes too hard if not enough juice is used with the package of gelatine. You can use unflavoured genatine, if you want to keep it organic and all natural. I sometimes use flavoured jelly powder too, like Jell-O, but generic, to add even more flavour to the jelly I am making. If your berries or fruit do not have a lot of flavour, the addition of flavoured jelly powder can give it a real boost!

The combination chichiquelite and grape jelly I made today was made with flavoured jelly powder. I used grape and berry flavours.

This is the recipe for all types of juice made with jelly powder:
1 small box jelly powder
2 cups juice
2 cups sugar

Directions: Bring the juice to a boil, stir in the jelly powder until dissolved, add sugar. You need the sugar to help preserve the jelly at room temperature if using a water bath to seal the jars. If you are going to keep this jelly in the freezer, you can use whatever amount of sugar you want. You don't need to sugar to make it gel.

Stir it all until the sugar and jelly powder are well dissolved. Pour into hot, sterilized jars. Wipe the rims, put on the new seals and rings. Lower gently into boiling water deep enough to cover the jars with about 1" of water above the tops of the jars. Boil for 10 minutes. Start the 10 minute count after the water has returned to a boil. Remove gently and sit on a towel until cool. Label and store in a dry, fairly cool location. Jellies and jams preserved in this manner will keep for many months.

I ran my bowl of chichiquelites through a juicer and used just the juice. I had about 5 cups of juice. I added 1 cup of Welch's grape juice that I had left over from making the grape jelly that didn't gel. That gave me 6 cups of juice. I added 2 boxes of berry jelly powder and one box of grape and added 6 cups of sugar. After following the recipe above, I put it in the storage room and left it to gel. This morning I tested it. Wow! It's great stuff!

Hubby pronounced it "Delicious!". Since he is the one who usually eats it, that's important. That's also the reason I made jelly instead of jam. Hubby prefers it. I do make strawberry freezer jam too, but we are trying to cut back on our freezer use. The corn is going in there in another month or so.

I don't think all of the corn I planted this year will fit in our freezer. We will give what corn we cannot freeze or eat to the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen in town. They get all our excess food. I wonder if they are a bit overwhelmed with all the zucchini they have received this year? I have some stored in the cold cellar to take to them in another couple of months, just to spread them out some. I took them an armload of flowers with the veggies one week simply because I had them to give. They seemed to be appreciated.

I realize that flavoured jelly powder is not organic but it sure has made jelly making a lot easier and fool proof for me. Even plain, unflavoured gelatine, which is organic, makes a big difference in the ease of jelly making!

UPDATE: I have since been told that the grape jelly didn't set because it was made from the frozen can. If it had been made from the jug of pure juice then it would have gelled properly. I don't know what the difference is. Next time I will be using grape juice from the jug.


Kathleen From Eggs In My Pocket said...

I have never ever heard of chichiquelite! The jelly looks so pretty! blessings,Kathleen

Bellen said...

Had never known you could make jelly with flavored jelly powder or gelatin. Will be a great boon when making calamondom jelly this year.Thanks

DayPhoto said...

Very interesting post. I have never hear of chichiquelite. Nor have I ever experimented with other types of gels.


Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

You can read all about them here:

I will have lots of chichiquelite seed for sale this fall.

The Japanese Redneck said...

I hate it when it doesn't setup properly.

Looks pretty, glad it was hubby approved.

Michelle's Green Thumb said...

I went on a crazy jam/jelly making session yesterday due to the lovely, wonderful, much-needed rain. I whipped up a blend of strawberry-rhubarb & red elderberry jam that is most divine (imagine it with cream cheese & fruit for a mid-afternoon snack).

I also did up a HUGE batch of salal jelly - 60 jars!! I use Certo Light & don't have to go through the water bath process & it's taken me a few years to nail down the proper quantities of juice to sugar in order to get a proper set. Some years it's like rock & other years it won't set (which is then labeled syrup & is amazing on pancakes or added to oil & vinegar dressings).

When I juice up the salal, I fill my large stock pot with the frozen berries & just enough water to barely cover them. I cook it up for 1/2 hour to an hour (depending on the size of the stock pot) & then stain it all through a jelly bag. I then re-freeze the juice in yogurt containers til I'm ready to do another session of jelly making.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

That salal jelly is divine! We like strawberry rhubarb too. I made some this summer.

Sounds like you've got the jelly making down to a science!

Next year I am going to make more jams and jellies.