It was just a little over a week ago that I tried my hand at making jelly for the first time ever. Inspired by memories of Grandma Dorothy's and Grandma Catherine's plum jellies - something you're certainly not likely to find in a grocery store - I decided to give it a try and see what would happen.
Turns out the plum jelly was great, and I've given away some for others to try (must remember - all this preserving of foods is to sustain us through the winter!) ;-)
Anyhow, since it was so easy, and since peaches are all piled up in the farmer's markets, I decided to give it another try. Only problem - getting a bunch of ripe peaches all at once! Maybe I should go later in the afternoon, when they'll put out the ripe/slightly bruised stuff to get ripe of it at marked down prices? Oh well - I bought six pounds of not-really-ripe peaches, brought 'em home, and tied them up in a bag with 4 apples.
A few days later the peaches were ripening and I pulled the apples out. Just a day or two later, and there was white fuzz growing around some of the peaches. Dammit - I overshot my ripe window!
Still, there was plenty that I could rescue - it was mostly the peaches clustered together in one corner of the bags. The rest were fine, but I gave them a seriously good washing anyhow. Chopped 'em up, tossed 'em in the pot, added water, and this is what you get:
Bring 'em up to the boil, and keep 'em that way and ten minutes later they look like this:
Another ten minutes - not much difference:
Then they strained into a deep pot through cheesecloth all day. That afternoon (sorry, no pics) I made peach jelly! Took quite a bit longer to boil the peach juice (plus lemon juice, sugar and pectin) to get it to the jelling stage than the plum jelly did, but it seems to have turned out great. I won't know for certain til I open up a jar later...but the extra few spoonfuls I poured out into a bowl set up real nice!
Next I want to try getting one of those cases of strawberries they have, and see if I can make strawberry jam/preserves! They even had elderberries, which I'd never seen before - I think those are supposed to taste great. MIGHT want to try just a few and do some reading up before I start buying enough to make jelly, hunh?
OH - PS: We didn't even know Simon had learned how to get up on the kitchen counter til Sunday morning when Brett heard a crash, came running down stairs, and found Simon had pushed one of the little squat jelly jars on the floor. The peach jelly recipe made maybe 1/2 - 2/3 the amount that the plum jelly did, and he goes and breaks one!? :(