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Making juice for jelly from fresh or frozen fruit is a simple skill, but if you want to make jelly instead of jam or preserves, you have to know how to do it. These instructions are short and simple.
-Large pot (2 gallon is ideal)
-Large spoon (plastic or wooden spoons will probably get stained)
-Large pan or mixing bowl
-Fresh or frozen fruit
Making juice for jelly requires clean, ripe fruit. Over-ripe or under-ripe fruit will give the fruit juice (and your jelly) an "off" flavor.
-Clean the fresh fruit, remove any bad pieces or places.
-If you are using berries, put them directly in the pot after cleaning.
you are using larger fruit, (apples, peaches, etc.)peel, core or remove
pits, and cut them up into roughly 1 inch size chunks.
-If you are using grapes, rinse them and remove them from the stems.
-If you are going to be using frozen fruit, you should only have to thaw it out, since it should have been cleaned before it was frozen. Fruit that has been frozen, becomes soft when thawed.
Place the prepared fruit in the cooking pot - fill only about half to 2/3 full. Add enough water to just cover the fruit. Place it on stove, and bring it to a boil.
As soon as boiling starts, turn the heat down to a simmer. If foaming is severe (In danger of boiling over the top of the pot), add about a half teaspoon of butter, margarine, or cooking oil.
Simmer for 5-10 minutes until fruit turns to...well, the best way to describe it would be...mush. Fresh fruits (especially hard fruit like apples or crab apples will require simmering a bit longer. When the fruit becomes soft enough that you can easily squash it against the side of the pan with a spoon it's ready for the next step.
-Place the strainer on top of the pan or mixing bowl.
-Slowly ladle fruit mixture into the strainer.
-Juice will run through, leaving the pulp in the strainer
-If needed, use a spoon to press the juice through and keep strainer clear
-Discard the pulp (there won't be much...)
That's it - You've got juice!
Making juice for jelly using this method can occasionally produce cloudy jelly. It doesn't happen every time, and is usually only the slightest bit cloudy. It has no effect on the flavor or texture of the jelly, just occasionally the appearance.
Because of that, this last step is entirely optional. We rarely ever use this last step, and our jellies are just fine for eating.
On the other hand, some people want their jelly to be crystal clear with no cloudiness at all. For example, if you were going to enter your jelly in the county fair for competition, or maybe give it away as a gift, appearance might be more important. Consider your "audience" when deciding...
If you fall into this category, you will need to polish your juice by straining it a second time. This time you need to put a clean cloth or 3-5 layers of cheese cloth (or gauze as some people call it) in the strainer and pour it through again. This will help remove the small particles that the strainer itself couldn't remove.
That's it - you're done! Now you can make jelly If you don't want to make jelly right away, you can refrigerate the juice for a few days, or you can freeze it for several months, until you are ready.
One of the easiest containers we have found to store juice in temporarily or even to freeze your juice for longer term storage is a clean, sterilized plastic milk jug.
Making juice for jelly is quite simple. You can also use juice made this way for drinking, but you may have to sweeten it up a bit depending in how tart the original fruit was.
Juice for Drinking
This method can also be used for making great tasting and healthy fruit juice for drinking.
Once the fruit has simmered, and has been strained off, it may need a bit of sweetening, depending on the tartness of the original fruit, and on how sweet you want it to be.
Once made & sweetened to taste, the juice can be canned for long term storage, using the water bath (immersion) method.
Follow the instructions for canning in my making grape juice page for details.