Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Jelly on the Fast-Track


Black Currant Jelly with Biscuits

I grew up watching my Grammy slave over a steaming hot stove each summer & fall, 'putting up' tomato sauce, pickles, pickled beets, jelly...pretty much anything that came out of the garden.

I remember running in to get a drink or ask her something, in the middle of some deeply important activity like kick ball (I was really good at that) or playing 'War', or swinging on the swingset, and she'd be taking jars out of the pot, or stirring the blackberries I'd helped pick. Her face would be flushed, and her clothes drenched in sweat. She was Grammy, it was what she did.

Canning & preserving were just part of our lives, and when I was older, with a household of my own, it was what I wanted to do, too.

No, I don't have a garden as wide as the backyard, as my grandparents did. No plentiful cucumber plants, ready to trade perky veggies for jars of bread & butter pickles. And no, I don't have access to miles of lush blackberry plants, nor do I have endless free afternoons to spend picking them.
Instead, I buy the best whatever-I'm-planning-to-can, and fill my own jars with pretty preserved food.

I'm mentioned to Matt, on more than one humid day, that it's absurdly unfair that the time to make pickled & jellied foods is always during the hottest times of the year. Late summer in the South? Not when you want to stand over a pot of boiling fruit, trust me.

So when I was contacted a few weeks ago, and asked if I'd like to try an easier way to make jelly...now, with temps in the 40's...I had to say yes.

Actually, it had a bit more to do with the fact that I was being asked to make this jelly with juice from R.W. Knudsen.

I have always loved their juices. So when I got the chance to try this myself...make jelly from a jar of juice, skipping the cooking step...using Knudsens, well, I was game.

My juice arrived, and after some delay, set out to test this 'easy' jelly recipe.

Oh, my god. They weren't kidding!

Juice goes into a pot. Pectin stirred in. Bring to a boil. Add in sugar, boil another minute...done.


Take it off the heat, skim if necesary, and pour into jars.

It was the easy, and that fast. Just...done.

I don't own a canner, myself, so I sealed my jars with parafin. I'm not worried about them going bad, though; at least two jars will be gifts. The rest? I don't think it'll last long.

I made biscuits the next morning, so Matt & Alex could do a taste test. Initially, Matt was impressed with how well the jelly spread. Then he ate it. And liked it.

Alex loved it. I mean really liked it. He specifically asked for the jelly Mommy made on his PB & J sandwich. There's about a quarter less jelly in that jar then there was Friday.

This is such a neat way to make jelly, and I think the method could easily be applied to other juices, as well...so far, Knudsens only has a recipe for the black currant. Just adjust the amount of sugar. The black currant is extremely tart, so it took a lot of sweetening up.

I would definitely do this again. So long as you're using a good, pure, quality juice like Knudsens, you'll wind up with extremely flavorful jelly.

Black Currant Jelly

1 32 ounce bottle of R.W. Knudsen Family’s Just Black Currant (4 cups juice)
1 1.75 ounce no sugar needed pectin
2 ½ cups sugar

Pour juice into 6-quart pan.
Gradually stir in pectin.
Bring mixture to full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
Stir in sugar and return to full rolling boil.
Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat. Skim as necessary.
Fill, seal, and water-path process according to instructions included with pectin.

Yields 5-6 8 ounce jars.

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