Pomegranates, a fruit that has been in use since ancient times, is now popular as jelly and in other foods on the discovery of its positive health values.
That being said, a church member donated three gallons of juice to jelly for our church ladies upcoming Christmas bazaar.
A call was made to help cook the jelly on a recent Thursday, and since I had already made jam all summer, was asked to participate.
Just the thought of cooking a large quantity of jelly seemed like a daunting task, but others before us had done it so I agreed to help.
Three of us showed up to jelly, later joined by the juice donor, and starting at mid-morning, we donned aprons to protect our clothing from the bright red juice that could permanently stain them.
The chairman had already divided the juice into twelve quart jars, measured sugar into baggies, while the other person brought the boxes of pectin and lemon juice for the needed acidity.
I took my electric pot so we could each make a batch at the same time because jellies and jams can’t be multiplied like cookies or soups if they are to turn out well, especially since the kitchen had only one burner available for jellying. The other burners were needed for sterilizing the jars, the canner and heating the lids. Otherwise, we might have had to stay longer hours taking turns cooking only at a time.
For each batch, the pomegranate and lemon juices and pectin were put into the pot, cooked till it boiled for a minute. Then the sugar was poured in and stirred nearly continuously until it came to a second rolling boil.
Using a jar lifter, each jar was lifted out of the hot water, and the boiling hot jelly ladled out through a funnel, filling up to a half inch of the top. A new, heated lid was laid atop the filled jar, each rim wiped clean of drips with a wet paper towel, and a ring screwed securely over the lid.
Again with the jar lifter, each jar was plopped into the canner of hot water, more water added so all the jars were at least an inch under it.
After processing the batch for ten minutes, they were lifted out onto a tray covered with a towel and taken to a table to cool. The loud CLICK each jar made was music to our ears because it proved the jar was sealed and we did not need to fear spoilage. They could safely be sold and the customer could keep it unopened for a year if wished.
At the end of five hours, we happily counted 80 jars of beautiful, ruby red jelly, more than originally expected, and if past years were a guide, would be best sellers at the bazaar’s country store booth.. Our feet were tired, but our cooperative effort resulted in safely cooking good jelly for our fundraiser.
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