"Fired with a with housewifely wish to see her storeroom stocked with homemade preserves, she undertook to put up her own currant jelly. John was requested to order home a dozen or so of little pots and an extra quantity of sugar, for their own currants were ripe and were to be attended to at once. As John firmly believed that 'my wife' was equal to anything, and took a natural pride in her skill, he resolved that she should be gratified, and their only crop of fruit laid by in a most pleasing form for winter use. Home came four dozen delightful little pots, half a barrel of sugar, and a small boy to pick the currants for her. With her pretty hair tucked into a little cap, arms bared to the elbow, and a checked apron which had a coquettish look in spite of the bib, the young housewife fell to work, feeling no doubts about her success, for hadn't she seen Hannah do it hundreds of times?"
Jelly, where have you been all my life? I honestly don't know! With all the homegrown lemons I have preserved over the years, with all the time spent peeling and dicing those little lemon peels for marmalades, and here we have a product which requires much less work and has quite delightful taste and consistency and with so little effort!?! I have been making jam for so long, I never even thought of lemon jelly. I think it may also have happened because, as I perused my canning books, I noticed they really don't print recipes for citrus jellies. And since this is where my canning planning begins, I never thought to make them. That is too bad because it is such an easy and delicious way to preserve the prolific lemon in winter. Plus, you can do so much with those excess peels after!
To begin, wash all your lemons and slice them in half. You will need approximately 8-12 lemons (depending on their size) for this little project.
Squeeze and strain lemon juice until you have 2 cups.
I placed my leftover lemon rinds in vinegar to infuse it for fabric softener, dishwasher rinse-aid and for a refreshing citrus cleaning solution. I also did some dehydrating of lemon slices that day but I do believe we were discussing jelly so I will continue on that...
"The array of pots rather amazed her at first, but John was so fond of jelly, and the nice little jars would look so well on the top shelf, that Meg resolved to fill them all, and spent a long day picking, boiling, straining, and fussing over her jelly. She did her best, she asked advice of Mrs. Cornelius, she racked her brain to remember what Hannah did that she left undone, she reboiled, resugared, and restrained, but that dreadful stuff wouldn't 'jell'..."
Place the strained lemon juice with two cups of water in a large cooking pot. Stir in the pectin (6 tbsp. or 1 box of Sure-Jell) until dissolved and bring to a boil (stirring frequently). Once liquid reaches a rolling boil, let it boil for one more minute (while stirring).
The pectin is what helps this jelly "jell". Perhaps poor Meg didn't use enough on that challenging day? I have found that if I buy the pectin in bulk (affiliate link), it is much more economical plus I am always prepared for an impromptu day of canning. It can be frustrating if someone bequeathes you with a free bag of ripe fruit and you don't have the supplies to preserve it. By the time you drop everything and get to the store, and then get distracted there with other items on your shopping list, oftentimes the feeling has passed and you don't have the same energy to can as before. Well, that is what happens to me at least... But with the bulk pectin, I am always prepared!
Next, stir in the sugar (4 cups) and bring to another rolling boil (stirring frequently). Once liquid reaches the rolling boil, let it boil for one minute longer while stirring constantly so it doesn’t overflow. When the time is up, remove the cooking pot from the heat.
Next, skim off any foam and ladle the jelly into hot, sterilized half-pint jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace.
Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water canner.
Remove jars and cool (out of the way of any drafts) on a kitchen towel when complete.
Yield: 6 half-pint jars
You will find the printable version of this recipe HERE 💛
Note: This recipe has been ADAPTED from the nice folks at the “Useful Knowledge” channel on YouTube. I have reduced the sugar a bit and included a water-bath processing time (I don't use the flip the jar method they share in their video).
“But he did, oh, bless you, yes, hundreds of times, and so did Meg, both declaring that it was the sweetest jelly they ever made; for family peace was preserved in that little family jar.”
I hope you have enjoyed this little tutorial and please do let me know if you give this jelly a go. It was such a simple canning project that adds a bit of sunshine into your winter pantry. And the aroma in the kitchen was absolutely refreshing and blissful!