toast and jelly; using juice to make jelly at home

 wasting food is something i try not to do.  blame it on my upbringing, blame it on my profession; either one is true.  as a result, i recently became a hoarder of juice.  making cobbler by the bucket meant using lots of fruit.  to keep it consistent in such large quantities, i used frozen fruit.  don’t wrinkle your nose at me; frozen fruit can be better quality than what many supermarkets or produce suppliers have on hand.  well, at least for something like a cobbler if you happen to be mixing up 40 pounds of it…

if you read the serving instructions, they tell you to thaw the fruit and discard the juices.  can somebody tell me why you would want to do that?  in reality, the freezing process destroyed the cell walls and as the fruit thaws, all of the liquid once held in place by those walls is now separating from the solids.  as it is released, it takes a lot of the flavor with it!  so when i began noticing that 25 pounds of frozen blackberries produced too much liquid for my cobblers and it looked more like soup, i began to reserve some of the juice that wept from the thawing fruit.  to make it easier on myself, i would thaw the fruit in two separate pans; one pan of 15 pounds and one pan of 10 pounds.  the juices that collected in the 10 pound pan were strained off and set aside.  thus began my hoarding of juice.

my husband began to wonder about me.  “what are you going to do with all of this juice?” he asked, repeatedly as my stash in the fridge grew and grew.  ten pounds of thawed blackberries produces about 6 cups of juice.  so began my experimentation with juice.  first i made some vinegar.  then some sorbet, followed by jelly and syrup and more jelly and even more jelly.  as the containers of juice collected in the fridge, i made jelly and gave it to friends and neighbors.  we also began to eat lots of toast with jelly.

now that i have landed here in virginia, i am eating toast with jelly on a daily basis; it is so much easier than trying to cook in a toy kitchen.  we close on our new home tomorrow afternoon and the movers are supposed to arrive on tuesday.  my days will be full of unpacking boxes and putting things into new places.  toast and jelly will be on the menu for a while, and as soon as i can, i am going to make a loaf of homemade bread to eat with it…

to make some jelly, you can produce your own juice or buy it.  if you buy it, go for the better quality pure juices that do not have added sugar or artificial ingredients.  kraft foods has a great chart on their website to help you figure out how much pectin, juice and sugar you need as well as instructions on how to make jelly.  this is such an easy thing to do that i may never buy jelly again!

disclaimer:  i was not compensated in any way by kraft for this post, nor do i suggest you use their pectin.  however, the chart is very accurate and easy to use and if the directions on it are followed, you should be successful.

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