Your jelly stays right in the middle, where it’s supposed to. I don’t know how you do it, you’ve just got a gift I guess.
– Homer Simpson
The underlying secret to keeping jelly (or jam) in the middle is pectin. Most pectin requires an alarming amount of sugar to set up. Recently, we’ve been harvesting strawberries, and I decided to make jam to use up the surplus we couldn’t eat outright. But I didn’t want to drench the berries in sugar, so I bought some low-sugar pectin and played around. After all, the worst thing that happens if your jam doesn’t set up is you have something gorgeous to pour over ice cream. But my experiment worked: jam for the win!!!
In the states, jam and jelly are neighbors on the fruit-spread continuum, but in the UK, “jelly” is something rather different.
Jam (both places) is jam. I suspect jam is a universal constant.
Jelly (US): fruit spread similar to jam, but made from juice alone instead of from juice and pulped fruit. Jelly is firmer than jam, but you can still put it on toast. If you are in the UK, US jelly is basically the same as the clear part of marmalade (although it’s not usually citrus).
Jelly (UK): gelatin desserts (such as Jello); it’s not intended to be spread on anything (although it might show up in chunks in a trifle).
The Kev thinks not, and I never noticed — is there a US jelly-type thing in the UK? If there isn’t such an item and you want to make and sell it there, feel free to use that terminology for branding.
Aside from Britain, I’d love to know what’s up with this terminology all over the English-speaking world, if anyone from the English-speaking world cares to comment.
So, anyway, do you want the recipe?
Strawberry-Rum Jam (with US and metric measures)
Just for fun, I threw in some rum, but you could use any liquor you want, or skip that step. I like to think it enhances the flavor of the berries, but that might be the (tiny amount) of rum talking. It would be good either way.
- 10 cups (2 and 1/3 litres) mashed strawberries and their juice (I used a potato masher, but you could also crunch them in a food processor)
- juice of one small lemon; throw in some of the lemon zest too, if you like that sort of thing
- 1/3 cup (about 80 ml) of rum or brandy or whatever you like
- 2 packages Mrs. Wage’s “lite” fruit pectin (or a similar low-sugar pectin)
- 3.5 cups (70 g) granulated sugar (caster sugar)
Mix powdered pectin and sugar and set aside. Bring strawberries, lemon juice, and rum to a boil. Add pectin/sugar mix to the strawberries and return to the boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Place in jars and process them for 10 minutes.
Makes 6 pints.
This isn’t achingly sweet, just lots of rich strawberry flavour. And the color is great. I’m having a little trouble staying out of it — these six pints won’t last long if I keep this up!