Itching to make cherry jelly but don’t want to wait months? Try making a small batch of low sugar Tart Red Cherry Jelly using a bottle of juice from the store!
Last Thursday night, I did an hour-long live broadcast on Facebook Live. A bunch of you tuned in, I showed you how to make Tart Red Cherry Jelly using store bought juice, we talked about the various ways to make shrubs, and I answered a whole bunch of questions.
During the broadcast, I promised to post the recipe I used to make the jelly. It’s taken me a little longer than anticipated, but here it is. I demonstrated how to do it using a bottle of tart cherry juice from Trader Joe’s, but you can use any bottle of 100% fruit juice that you’d like. In the past, I’ve done this with Concord grape juice and blueberry juice, both to good effect.
This recipe also works with honey. If you go in that direction, reduce the amount by approximately one-third. Oh, and before you put the jelly into jars, taste it. Some batches of juice are sweeter than others, and so occasionally a bit of fresh lemon juice is needed to help balance the flavors.
- 3 1/2 cups tart cherry juice
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon calcium water (part of the Pomona's Pectin system)
- 1 tablespoon Pomona's Pectin powder
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 3 half pint jars.
- Pour the juice into a low wide non-reactive pan that can hold at least five quarts (this jelly bubbles up a lot during cooking, so you need the room for expansion).
- Bring the juice to a boil. Once it boils, add 1 cup granulated sugar and the tablespoon of calcium water and continue to boil for another five minutes.
- Whisk the pectin powder into the remaining sugar.
- Once the five minutes are up, slowly whisk the pectin-spiked sugar into the boiling juice. I do this with a whisk in one hand and the vessel with the pectin in the other, to ensure that the pectin gets integrated into the juice smoothly and doesn't clump.
- Once the the pectin is fully integrated, boil for another minute and then remove the jelly from the heat.
- Funnel the jelly into the prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
- Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortably handle them, check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
I use 3 1/2 cups of tart cherry juice rather than the full 4 cups that come in the bottle because that last portion is sediment from the pressing process. The sediment is sort of bitter and tannic, and will also make your jelly cloudy. I just carefully pour the juice out, but if you're more of a perfectionist than I, you could strain it through a coffee filter.