For all those who grew up in the eighties and nineties, making or watching pickles and jams made at home during the summer time was a part of growing up. It used to be a part of the rich family tradition in any Indian home. The tradition of pickling might have developed as a solution to the problems of scarcity of food and seasonality of produce. Any preserve or pickle you make after all is a taste of home.
Pickles, jams and jelly making rituals might be a thing of the past but the nostalgia that it brings still lingers fresh in our minds. I didn’t jump up to refresh the memories of the past by making jelly. Here it was totally accidental. It was during last Christmas, when everything was busy in the house, I ordered for some grocery from an online local store. Instead of regular black grapes, I received Bangalore blue seeded grapes. Finding out it was a mistake in selecting the correct item, I had no choice but to keep the grapes. For days it was left unattended in my refrigerator but then I later on decided to make some jelly. It finally turned out to be the pride of my kitchen that Christmas.
If you are really wondering difference between jam and jelly, let me first clear that Jams are made with fruit pulp or crushed fruit while Jellies are made with fresh fruit juice. A good jelly is a combination of flavor, clarity and the jiggle. Flavors comes from good quality grapes while clarity is all in the straining of the juice after heating or cooking the grapes. Finally, the jiggle comes from the perfect cooking time. This jelly will keep up to three months if refrigerated well since no pectin is added.
The jelly was quick to make with no pectin, flavored with a hint of cinnamon and cloves. Its softer than a jam, perfect to spread onto some savory or cheese crackers or a regular PB J sandwich (peanut butter- jelly sandwich). Nothing is more rewarding to opening a jar of jelly during the festive breakfast time with your family and getting compliments from your loved ones. No wonder it was a regular fairly inexpensive condiment for our Food Trolley.
Jelly preparation stage after adding sugar
Final Blue grape jelly.
- Blue Bangalore grapes- 500 grams.
- Sugar 1 cup
- Water – ¼ (one fourth) cup.
- Clove – 3 no
- Cinnamon- 1-inch stick.
- Lemon Juice – Half lemon (optional).
- Wash, clean and stem the grapes. Drain them and take it out in a saucepan. Add water till the grapes are just covered.
- Simmer over a low flame for 15- 20 minutes until the grapes are swollen, dark and cooked. Allow to rest n cool.
- Transfer the cooled and cooked grapes to a blender. Pulse the blender and strain to remove the skin and seeds.
- Transfer back to the sauce pan and bring to a boil. When the juice is boiling, add the sugar and stir well as it boils for 2 minutes.
- When the 2 minutes are up, lower the heat and allow to simmer. At this stage you can skim of the foam and add the juice of lemon if you like.
- Add crushed cloves and cinnamon stick to the jelly. Let it cook for about 20 minutes or till lightly thick.
- Remove from heat, allow to rest for just 10 minutes and ladle into prepared jars.
- Allow to cool at room temperature and cover with lid. Refrigerate and store.
Read on before you start preparing jelly
Always taste the fruit before you start to use it. You could adjust the sugar and flavour according to the taste of the fruit. Like if its too sweet or sour.
The thumb rule to add sugar is half of the quantity of the fruit juice. This will help you to make as many quantities you desire.
Watch closely and Stir the jelly mix frequently at regular intervals in order to avoid splatters or mess and burns.
The jellying point of jelly is usually 8 degrees higher than the boiling water. If you don’t have a cooking thermometer, you’ll know this when you pull out your spoon and the jelly sheets off the spoon. If it is clear and does not sheet or coat it’s not done.
Give the jelly a rest after cooking to the acquired stage, its not an instant state actually takes 12 hours to properly set for the spreadable consistency.
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