The Cottage Smallholder

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Jelly set too hard

Jelly faceI had promised Margaret a jar of our Sloe and Bramley Jelly – great for adding to casseroles, brilliant with game. The sloey edge gives it more bite than a conventional jelly.

I gave her a large jar of our Apple Chilli Jelly instead. She looked flummoxed and examined the label.

I explained in one embarrassed word.

It was probably a mistake to ring my mother when I was making sloe and Bramley apple jelly. She likes to chat and muse about life. Usually I am quite good at multi tasking but making jelly needs 100% concentration. A few minutes after I put the phone to bed I discovered that I had created a jelly that could be made into cricket balls for the next England International match.

I was regretting the phone call during jelly making when Margaret remarked,
“But Fiona, you can turn it round.”
My antennae revolved with a click.
“Just make up more juice. Add it to the rubbery jelly. Heat it very gently, stirring from time to time until the jelly has combined with the juice. No Need to add sugar. Just proceed as usual, bring it to a rolling boil and test for set every couple of minutes.”

I did this and it worked! And the best news is that by adding a pint of sloe and Bramley juice and no more sugar means that the jelly is a lot less sweet. I will definitely cut down on the sugar for my next batch of sloe and Bramley jelly. If you are making this now, I reckon that you could cut the sugar in our recipe down by 20%.

Why not reduce your carbon footprint (sugar wise) and make our recipe?

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  1. Really Hungry

    Oooh, does that mean if I make the same amount of peach and pear juice and leave out the sugar I can rescue this peach, pear and vanilla that could bounce 30 feet?

    That’s a result I could be very happy with indeed.

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Joolz

    Why not use grape or apple juice. Water would thin the flavour. You need as much to thin your jam to the right consistency so add the juice incrementally to the warm jam.

    Don’t forget you need to repot it in clean sterilised jars.

  3. Hello

    I have two problems with ‘tough’ preserving. The first is blackberry jam and the next is haw chutney. Both are very, very thick. I read with interest that I could reboil with more juice however I am not sure if I can get more juice from haws or blackberries, is there another alternative? What would happen if I used water? How much would I need? I hope you can help.

  4. Sarah

    Yes I put a sliced whole grapefruit in, so I didn’t add any lemon as I thought the grapefruit would have enough pectin anyhow – plus the recipe which I followed to the letter didn’t ask for any. I’ve got nothing to lose so think I’ll reboil with some extra lemon juice and see what happens.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sarah

    The “set” shouldn’t take too long. If you go beyond 15 -20 minutes there is a problem with the recipe. Did you keep the grapefruit pips in? These would help. Also some lemon juice and the pips (about a tablespoon). Also are you doing a real rolling boil? The contents of the saucepan really bubbles up – at least three or four inches – so you need a vast pot.

  6. Sarah

    I’ve made 2 attempts at a delicious sounding grapefruit & elderflower jelly, but it still hasn’t worked…

    First attempt I boiled and boiled it for ages until it got to the setting point, which it was then like mollasses and tasted nothing like what it was supposed to. Today I tried again and cautiously – it hasn’t set, it’s just a thick but tasty syrup. I thought that citrus like grapefruit wouldn’t need any more lemon juice or pectin adding, but it was quite a ripe fruit so maybe it does? Any suggestions on how I can salvage what I’ve got?

  7. Hi
    I moved to live in Cyprus last September and have found some fabulous fruit to make jellies and chutneys with. My first venture was quince jelly using their enormous bright yellow quinces. The ones I’d made jelly from in the UK looked nothing like these! I had the same problem as Joy in acheiving a sloppy syrup and will try Kate’s lemon and reboil solution. More successful was my Kumquat chutney! Cant wait to see what the Spring brings by way of different fruits.

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Helen

    Sorry not to get back to you sooner. I have been working this week!

    I haven’t made jam/jelly from the left over sloes so I can’t really give you experienced advice. However if I was going to try it I would make our sloe and Bramley jelly
    and use the alcohol infused sloes with fresh apples.

    I would keep the gin and vodka infused fruit seperate.

    We also make sloe sherry with the left over sloes. There are lots of ideas for using the alcohol infused fruit on all our sloe posts. Type in sloe in the search box at the top of the page to find the relevant posts.

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