When we were newly married, Taylor's Grandmama became my cooking/cleaning coach. I was never able to surpass my teacher...bless my heart, she tried her best. She could out-cook and out-clean me any day of the week--even at 80 years of age.
Strawberry jelly was one of her best lessons. If I follow her directions, I can still make some good jelly.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.
The very first step is to make sure that your mason jars and tops are cleaned and dry.
4 cups crushed strawberries
7 cups of sugar
1/2 T of butter
1 package of Sure Gel gel
Wash the strawberries and remove the caps. This year I put my strawberries in the blender on the lowest setting. (This would never have happened with Grandmama!) This cut my cooking time down by a lot. I will do this from now on. The result was more jelly than jam...but I was really pleased with the difference.
Put 4 cups of the crushed berries into a large pot on the stove. Add the butter and sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. The package of Sure Gel calls for a 1 minute boil, but Grandmama always said they got that wrong. (I mean what do they really know?) So I have always doubled the cooking time on the recipe.
Once the first boil is finished add the package of liquid gel and boil for 2 more minutes. Remove from the stovetop.
While the jelly is still hot, ladle it into your clean mason jars. Leave just a little bit of space between the top of the jar and the jelly...don't fill it completely to the tip-top. Once you have filled the jars take a damp paper towel and wipe the top of the glass jar clean from any jelly that may have gotten on it in the pouring. Screw the lids on the jars.
You can jump through all the canning hoops if you like that process. But I am not a fan. Grandmama taught me to let the jars completely cool on the counter and then put them in the freezer! The jars usually seal themselves as they cool, but by placing them in the freezer you can make certain they will be ok. I have had years where I have made enough jelly to last from one making to the next year's making. The last jar out of the freezer was just as delicious as the first.
You may hear people talk about freezer jam...this is not freezer jam. It is cooked jelly that you freeze. I think the result is VERY different.
I haven't made this jelly in years. I don't know if I just did not want to do it without Grandmama or if I was thinking it was going to be hard. (You see, Grandmama thought that if you were going to make 1 batch you might as well make 8).
Elizabeth Jane begged me to make some jelly. She doesn't even like jelly, but she wanted to try cooking it. I agreed and I am so thankful I did. And the process was MUCH easier than I remembered.
The very first smell of cooking strawberries took me back to cooking with Grandmama. I though it would be sad...and it was a little. But mostly it was happy. It was fun to think about our times together and it was sweet to think about sharing part of Grandmama with Elizabeth Jane. I think she was smiling in Heaven as she watched Elizabeth Jane help me cook her recipe.