I'm developing a real enthusiasm for canning these past couple of years. It was tricky at first, and I'm still by no means an expert, but I understand it better now and I really enjoy it! I still marvel at the fact that you can turn fruit into something totally different with some cooking and a few added ingredients. It feels a little magical to me, even though I realize it's a simple process. I love doing it and I'm happy to share my creations. This year, I made a festive jelly for our teachers' holiday gifts.
This is a really simple recipe that I came across as I looked for something fun and different to try; there are many versions out there but I decided to try Taste of Home's version, which was well-reviewed and seemed especially easy. You need only four ingredients to make this jelly and it cooks and sets quickly. I scaled the recipe, using less juice and low-sugar pectin. I ended up with three half-pints - two for the teachers and one for us!
Candy Apple Jelly (from Taste of Home)
4 cups apple juice
1/2 cup Red Hots candies
1 package (1 3/4 oz.) powdered fruit pectin
4 1/2 cups sugar
In a large saucepan, combine the apple juice, candies and pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar; return to a full rolling boil. Boil and stir 1 minute.
Remove from heat; skim off foam. Ladle hot mixture into six hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. head-space. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.
Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Yield: about 6 half-pints.