Generally I’m against jellies. Jelly is juice. Gelled juice. I adore jam, confiture, preserves, anything sweet, soft with fruit in it. Jelly requires time, patience, planning. What making jelly offers though is two fold, jelly for your toast and fruit leather! (New dehydrator, will talk about that soon).
I scored organic Pluots for .58 cents a pound. Nothing is .58 cents a pound anymore, certainly not organic fruit, so I bought 5 lbs. (going back for more). They were quite ripe, drippy, juicy. Fruit for jam and jelly making is best used firm-ripe, with one or two under ripe fruits thrown in for pectin boost. Pectin is the ‘connective tissue’ of the fruit, and the riper the fruit, the more decayed the connective tissues are, you know what I mean, humans are like this too. I am no fan of adding store bought pectin, but I had purchased Pomona’s Universal Pectin, which allows for the most flexibility and creativity of use, and is calcium triggered. Pectin is needed when the fruit ’tissues’ are removed, such as jelly, or for naturally low pectin fruits/ foods. Strawberries, rhubarb,peaches, pears, cherries are all considered low pectin fruits. Quince and apples have the highest concentration, particularly crab apples, which can be used to make pectin itself.
To make jelly the fruit is pitted, cut up and boiled until mushed, then strained for 6-8 hours through a jelly bag or multiple layers of cheese cloth, suspended over a bowl ( jelly bag and stand do exist for this, makes it easier). Once all the juice has drained, jelly can be made. The fruit pulp can be frozen for smoothies, or used to make fruit leather, maybe even sorbet!
Honeyed Pluot Jelly
About 5lbs fruit (yielding 5 cups juice)
1 cup water
Pomona’s Universal Pectin (prepare calcium water according to directions)
1 1/4 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup light colour/ flavor honey
6-8 hours before you intend to can this jelly, prepare fruit. Pit and quarter pluots put in a stock pot with the water, heat to boil and continue to do so gently while mashing the fruit with a potato masher. Set up your jelly bag and stand securely over a bowl with capacity to hold all the juice (at least 5 cups), making sure you have gotten the bag wet first, doing so keeps the juice from soaking the bag before running though it. DO NOT SQUEEZE JUICE BAG at any point. Your jelly will be cloudy from pulp particles. If you’re going to all this trouble to make jelly, might as well have it crystal clear and pretty.
Once juice has separated, pour pluot juice and lemon juice into stock pot over medium heat, add calcium water. Heat to a boil, stirring well and frequently.
Whisk pectin powder with sugar. (Pomona’s always needs to be mixed with the sweetener before being added to fruit/ juice. Read directions, when you get the hang of it, you will be a convert. )
Once the juice has boiled, whisk in the pectin/ sugar mixture thoroughly. Then add the honey. Continue stirring until it re-boils, then turn off heat. Jelly will be thickened, but not quite to the point of regular pectin. It will thicken in the 12-24 hour rest time after processing.
Process in clean jars and prepped lids for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath caner. Turn heat off at 10 minutes, leave lid on and let rest for 5 minutes more, this ensures a good seal.