Jelly = Fail

I’m trying not to take this as a metaphor for everything right now, but my jelly failed.

I boiled it too long trying to get up to the magic number 220 degrees.

Apparently I destroyed the pectin (which we’d worked SO HARD to create from our crab apples) and now I have 24 jars of tea-flavored pancake syrup.

My friend London’s daughter was over yesterday, so it seemed like a BRILLIANT idea to show the girls how to make Jelly.  Or, in my case, how to make syrup.

Hannah’s agreed to help me redo the whole thing with some of that there fancy store-bought pectin, I’ve reached the point where this fail is larger in my mind than it really is in person.

I know I haven’t posted for a while – I hesitate to post when I’m feeling not very well because I know it sounds like I just moan, moan, moan – at least that’s what one person once wrote about my blog – and I’ve just been too exhausted/tired/in pain to even crawl onto my bike and ride the pain out.

It makes me sad, it makes me blue, and all that inactivity makes me hurt.

Dang.  Isn’t THIS a pleasant read today?

So I’ll post some lovely photos of the jelly-making adventure, go out for a bike ride, and hope that when I get back my pain will be receding and my dear girl would have emptied all of my well-sealed jars of syrup back into the giant pot so we can begin our ‘fixing the jelly’ adventure.

The ‘syrup’ tastes really good, too!

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17 thoughts on “Jelly = Fail

  1. NancyB

    I’m always afraid to can (and I’d include something like jelly in there) because I know I’d end up poisoning someone!
    and, I can’t believe how old the kids are getting!
    I hope you’re feeling better with your ride.

  2. Lara Neel

    Jelly is always a bit temperamental. My grandma swears by store-bought pectin and wouldn’t make anything without it. Sometimes nature just doesn’t provide enough to stand up to modern (safer!) canning methods.

    Good luck on your redo. Maybe jelly will turn out to be like knitting – something you can try until you get it right.

    Lots of hugs and hoping you feel better soon.

  3. Dawn

    It not hard to fix. You simply dump it all back in a pot, add some more pectin and re-can. be sure to resterilize the jars and get new lids. I had to do this last week and it was really easy.

  4. Deneise

    Just talked to my mom, who is 90, and asked her about the hot bath. She never puts
    her jelly in a hot bath. After she fills the jars (not to the top), she then lets them sit,
    and the puts melted paraffin on top, which will harden and seal the jelly. You might
    want to check the internet or google or somewhere about the hot bath. When I first
    saw you used a hot bath, my first thought was you made the jelly a liquid. Hope this
    information helps. Nothing is better than homemade jelly, however you make it.
    You can reuse the paraffin from year to year. Deneise in Kansas

    1. Annie Post author

      My mom always did the parafin wax seal, too, and I was surprised to see the instructions to put the jelly in a hot bath, but that’s what they said! I’m redoing it today with purchased pectin, parafin and NO hot bath – results tomorrow!

  5. MetroRebecca

    Just don’t do what I did at age about 12: Overcompensate for the low pectin in your fruit (in my case, mulberries) by adding TOO MUCH commercial pectin. Tea-flavored pancake syrup is way preferable to mulberry-flavored glass blocks.

  6. sarah-marie

    Annie, my recommendation is to leave at least a few of the jars as syrup. I had the same jelly-fail a couple of years ago, and once I let anyone taste the syrup, they wanted some for their pancakes at home! I really thought I’d never use it up, but it went much more quickly than expected.

    1. Gretchen

      Agree! Home-made syrup is so much nicer than commercial, so please keep some jars of the syrup – don’t put them all back into the jelly pot.

  7. Judith

    Good luck with the new jelly. Don’t ever hesitate to post even if you are not feeling well. I love to hear from you.

  8. Nathan Grisham

    It’s always disappointing when it doesn’t work out, but just see it as added experience, and getting you that much closer to becoming an expert. When my jam fails, if it’s not terribly thin, we just use it anyway (but we’re extra careful to eat over a plate, haha) because it still tastes delicious!

  9. Dawn

    You might want to re-can with lids. Parafin wax while yes it can be safe is no longer recommended as germs and bad things can get into the food. (USDA website and many others like U of MN site all talk about this) It wasnt the canning process that casued the non setting failure most likely your apples just didnt have enough natural pectin.

  10. griff

    The first picture of the jelly is absolutely beautiful.

    The light shining through the golden syrup. . . if nothing else, you got some beauty out of the day (there is ALWAYS a bright side, you sometimes have to look hard for it, though).

  11. Ellen

    My dad was (still is) the cooking parent at my home and he made us pick our family’s crab apples for jelly.

    However the next batch turns out – it will be a wonderful memory. I usually try to rustle up a batch of raspberry jelly with the kids each year but I don’t pick them myself.

    FYI, try quince jelly. Quince bushes are much lower to the ground and make a nice ornamental shrub. My dad taught me that as well!

  12. Allison

    I love reading your posts, even (or perhaps particularly) when you’re talking about how you deal with illness, exhaustion, etc. Reading your blog has helped me understand and support my cousin who has a similar (or the same?) condition – you’ve given voice to a lot of things that she tried to tell me but I had trouble understanding.

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