My South Dakota grandmother always said jell for jelly. She made more jams than jellies. It is a little discouraging to pick your own fruit and then use just the juice, tossing all the skins and some of the pulp and flavor to the chickens. My brother and I picked choke cherries in her back yard for her to make my favorite of all jams.

There are no clever short cuts for jam and jelly. You clear off the kitchen surfaces, find or buy the jars, plan uninterrupted time, get the fruit or juice ready, open the box of Sure-Jell, study the directions, and follow them to the letter. Mother used Certo, but I didn't like trying to decide what was half a bottle. Mother also knew how to make jelly with no commercial pectin. Simple. You just boil the juice and sugar until the juice runs together off the spoon in a certain way and then you know it's ready to pour out. You don't even need a thermometer if you grew up cooking on the prairie. Mother happily adopted commercial pectin because it gives you so much more jelly for the same amount of fruit. Without it you have to boil away a large part of the juice before it thickens. The new directions say to process the filled jars in a water bath, but I follow old directions that allow me to use paraffin to seal the jars, just as mother and grandmother did. The old directions still work. The jelly keeps on the cellar shelves just as it always has. Perhaps the new directions are needed for people who don't have old farmhouse cool cellars. Mother didn't have a farmhouse but she had an 8 foot square section of the cellar for preserves. At one point my father decided to use it as a dark room, and we learned to print pictures, but this was a passing fancy and the jelly kept its place.

For Wineberries I use the Sure-Jell Red Raspberry recipe. This calls for 4 cups of juice and 5 ½ cups of sugar. If your new box of Sure-Jell does not list red raspberries, you can use these proportions and still follow the directions precisely.

Copyright The Friendly Cook
Last updated February 19, 2003