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Basic Jelly

To determine whether or not the jelly is done cooking, use a candy thermometer and the "sheeting method," described below. Don't use overripe fruit for jelly, as it may not set up well.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 3 to 3 1/2 cups

Photography: Christopher Testani

Source: Martha Stewart Living, September 2015

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds fruit, cut into 1-inch chunks if large, stone fruit pitted
  • Water (see amounts, below)
  • Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Coarse salt

Directions

  1. Combine fruit and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, mashing occasionally with a potato masher, until fruit is very soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to a fine sieve set over a heatproof bowl; let drain without pressing on fruit, 4 hours. Strain again through sieve lined with damp cheesecloth. Measure juice; you will have 3 to 4 cups.

  2. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, bring juice to a boil. Add 3/4 cup sugar for each cup of juice. Add lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Return to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, 8 to 12 minutes. To test if jelly is done, dip a large metal spoon in, lift it horizontally above pot, and let mixture drip back in. Jelly is done when mixture has thickened slightly and drops of it slide together off spoon in a sheet. (Temperature should register 221 degrees on a candy thermometer.) Skim foam from top.

  3. Ladle jelly into clean containers, leaving 3/4 inch of headroom. Let cool completely. Cover, label, and refrigerate up to 1 month, or freeze up to 1 year.

Variations

Apple
3 3/4 cups water; use 2 pounds McIntosh and 1 pound Granny Smith, cut up with cores and skin

Grape
1 cup water

Plum
1 1/2 cups water

Raspberry
1 1/2 cups water

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