Crazy Jar Lady
Soooo..... I"m in the middle of a big-time jelly failure. I haven't had one of these for a very long time. The last round of this happened a couple years ago and I ended up with tomato syrup from trying to make tomato jam. It's gotta be an acid vs pectin issue.....
I wanted to utilize all the flavor in the scraps of the apple peels and cores from making pie filling the other day. I cooked the trimmings in the leftover apple soaking water until I had a pretty pink apple "broth". (I use citric acid to keep apples and pears from browning.) Then the next day, I set about making jelly. I had enough broth to make 4 batches of jelly. I had intended to experiment with different spices and see which we enjoyed the most. I did a batch with added pumpkin pie spice, a batch with just cinnamon, a vanilla and cinnamon batch and a plain batch.
The following day, none of the jelly had set. All the other jam I made had set up beautifully, but not this jelly. I measured all the pectin and sugar correctly. I used the thermometer** and boiled each batch to 220 degrees to get to the pectin gel point. I processed the jars 10 min in the waterbath canner. And I had ended up with syrup with little places of jelled jelly inside of it. I headed to Google to find out what I might have done wrong and if there was a way to fix it.
Dr Google said that because the waterbath canner wasn't already boiling when I added the jars that the jelly was cooking too long waiting for the canner to heat up; this would make the pectin "break". Noted. Dr Google also said that I could fix the jelly by adding so much lemon juice, sugar, water, and pectin to each quart of jelly and reprocess. There were atleast 3 different versions of that process.... It didn't work.
Now I've really got syrup, even the clumps of jelled jelly gave up after re-processing. And the flavor has changed. I tried 2 of the 4 batches to see what I would get from re-processing. I also wanted to see if the other 2 original batches went ahead and jelled with a little extra time. Nope. I've got 4 batches of various flavored and really pretty syrup. Apple syrup is just not something we are going to use.
Time to pull out some big guns. I took my not-so-happy ass down to the Mennonite store yesterday and bought the biggest bag of Clear Jel** you ever did see. If I don't end up with a spreadable jelly product, I will atleast end up with goop for pie filling!
The nice thing about canning flops and things like high-sugar high-acid products is that if it is a flop, it can literally stay sealed in the jars until you decide what to do about it and when you have time to fix it. This has already been going on almost a week! There will be an update to this!
Happy Canning! What has been your latest flop in the kitchen?
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