Jiggly Jelly Test
Because of variations in kitchen humidity, water content of fruit used, how hard you boil your spread, and the size of pan used, cooking times for making jellies and preserves vary. So how will you know when your mixture is ready to bottle?
This simple test will ensure great results every time. Float a metal bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water. Scoop out a teaspoon of your jelly mixture (remove pan from heat while performing test) onto the bottom of the metal bowl. Run your clean finger through the jelly. If the jelly stays divided and doesn't run back together, your jelly is ready for the jars.
You can use this test for preserves, too. Simply chill ceramic (not plastic) saucers in the freezer, place a teaspoon of cooked preserves on a chilled saucer when you think it has cooked enough (fruit is translucent and tender, syrup is slightly thick and sheets off a spoon, instead of dripping). Cool preserves in the freezer for a short time. When cool, run your finger down the center. If a path remains, go ahead and bottle your spread.
If you prefer a more scientific approach and own a reliable jelly or candy thermometer, you can use the temperature test. Boil the mixture until it reaches the temperature listed for your altitude:
* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *