Most people have no idea what Mixed Fruit Jelly is made from. All they know is it tastes good.
You get it at a drive thru or they bring it to you with your meal at the Waffle House. If you don’t live in the South, the Waffle House is a place that we all know and visit frequently. They serve mostly breakfast type meals. They also have other things, according to the signs on the wall they a sell more T-Bone steaks than any other restaurant. They are on just about every corner around Atlanta. Not a big place, usually 4 to 6 booths and maybe 8 – 10 seats at the counter. They have some of the best food around. I guess the two biggest things in the South are Waffle Houses and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. That is a slanted opinion.
When I go to the Waffle House and get my eggs, grits and toast they always bring little packages of jelly. I always look for mixed fruit. Away from home it is my favorite. When I visit other places for a biscuit or mcmuffin I also get jelly, usually mixed fruit. I read the ingredients on both packages and they are not the same. One has mixed fruit made from apple and grape juice and the other has apple and plum juice. The only thing they have in common is apple juice (and all the other things they put in it). I have no idea when this started or who started it. I guess someone who makes way too much money said one day to use apple grape and someone else making just as much money decided that it should be apple plum. I often wondered why someone else at another factory didn’t decided on plum-grape jelly. It would be mixed fruit. Oh well things like that only happen in my kitchen.
The taste out of the little package is just about the same, so I guess that the main juice is apple. The grape or plum are there to give a color and a hint of flavor.
I will give you a recipe so that you can go to the grocers and buy the things you need to make either or both. Might be fun to make both and let your family decide which one they really like best. We are going to use equal parts of the juices so our jellies will taste better than the packages.
Your shopping list should include enough to make what ever combination you like. Maybe buy another juice to really mix things up.
All the juice that we are going to use should be with no added water. That would be the ones that are not made from concentrate. If you look you can find it. Your list should include:
Apple Juice – a couple of quarts will do.
Grape Juice – a quart will work. You can use purple grapes or white grapes. So many things to pick.
Plum Juice – again a quart. This may be a little harder to find. It is usually in the specialty foods section of your grocery store. This will also cost more than apple or grape. Again, buy enough to make one batch or a couple of mixed up batches. You are the boss.
Cane Sugar – maybe two or three 5 pound bags, just in case. I really mean Cane sugar.
Look and make sure. The other sugar will work, but your jelly may not set firm. We call it weepy jelly.
Powdered Pectin – buy 4 or 5 boxes. You never know when you might want to make the next combination. You want to be ready.
Canning jars – maybe a couple of cases. That will give you more jars to work with.
At home remove the jars from the box.Wash & rinse completely. We ran our jars thru the dish washer on a rinse and sanitize cycle. This is what I mean when I say prepared jars. They have been washed, rinsed and dried completely. The domes need to be boiled in water before use. We use a small plastic stick with a magnet on the end to remove the domes for use on jars.
Lemons – While you are at the store look around in the frozen foods section. In most stores you will find packages of frozen Lemon Juice. This is the way we buy it. It is real juice with no additives, just squeezed and frozen.
Once you thaw it, keep it in the refrigerator. If you don’t want this then get a bag of lemons. You can squeeze and strain the seeds out. Each batch of jelly will use a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice.
Over in the Specialty Foods section take a look at all the different juices available. The list has grown and grown the more people want something other than orange or apple. Another place to look for fruit juice is the baby food section. They have some of the best pear juice I have ever tested. You might ask how I know, well when we took care of our grandkids we always bought different juices to give them. They all liked the pear juice best, so I tasted (not from the baby bottle, I tasted it from the bottle I bought at the store) and I really liked it.
Now I hope you are ready to cook. You have picked exactly the combination you want first. While we are getting ready, why don’t you have the next pick ready. It really doesn’t take that much longer to make two batches.
Apple/Plum Mixed Fruit Jelly
3 1/2 cups apple juice
3 1/2 cups plum juice
9 cups sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 box pectin
This is the instructions for cooking all the different type of Mixed Fruit jellies.
Combine all juices with pectin in a cooking pot. Bring to a boil, boil for 1 minute. Add sugar. Continue stirring and bring back to boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Let set for a couple of minutes. Skim the foam off the top. Carefully ladle into prepared jars. Clean the rims with a wet paper towel. Place sterile domes then rings on top. Finger tighten (not too tight, but tight enough so they don’t leak in the water bath). Put all jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove and let sit over night. Next morning check for unsealed jars. They have to be reprocessed with a new dome. The other jars are ready to eat, display or give as gifts.
Use your other juices and make what ever type of mixed fruit jelly you want. The choice is yours. Make White Grape/Apple or Purple Grape/Apple. Why not something else like Peach/Mango Mixed Fruit jelly? Mary Lynn made Strawberry/Apple jelly and it was a huge favorite. Everybody likes Strawberry Jam and who doesn’t like Apple Jelly.
To get strawberry juice bring to a boil 2 cups water and 6 cups crushed fruit. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Let cool then strain thru muslin. You now have strawberry juice to make jelly with.
While we have brought up strawberry juice, why not mix strawberry/ mango as a mixed fruit.
You see all the different ways to go. You can do anything you want or your family wants. The first thing I want you to do is taste your jelly and then taste one of the little packages that you got from the Waffle House or the drive thru at your mcfavorite restaurant.
The tastes are nothing alike. That is why you should make the jelly that you and your family want to eat.
There are so many things to pick from to make your favorite.
Please let me know what you would like to make or any ideas you
have for the next blog. Just drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget, if someone asks you if you can can it. Say Yes I Can Can It!