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Old 10-21-2006, 09:44 AM   #1
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Set point for jelly?

I'm in the process of making Apple Mint Jelly, going by two recipes I found on DC. See below.

I get that I have to strain the cooked apples through a fine mesh, like layers of cheesecloth or even a T-shirt, as someone suggested.

But when I get the juice and sugar, I am supposed to cook rapidly until the "set point". How will I know when I'm there????

TIA!

Lee

Apple Mint Jelly
1kg green apples
1.25 litres water
juice of 2 lemons,
sugar
1 bunch of
mint, chopped
1 large bunch apple
mint, chopped
green food colouring (optional)

Chop apples without peeling, place in a saucepan with water and lemon juice. Bring to the boil and cook until fruit is soft. Strain through muslin overnight. Next day measure juice and for each 625ml juice add 500g sugar. Add the
mint and stir constantly over heat until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil briskly until setting point is reached. Add a little green food colouring if desired. Bottle and seal.


Mint Jelly (2)
4 lbs tart apples
3 cups strong mint water
2 cups white vinegar
sugar

To make mint water, steep 1 lb. mint in 3 cups water overnight. Next day, chop apples and place in a pan, barely cover with water. Cover and simmer about 1 hour until apples are soft. Strain through fine mesh.


Combine apple juice, mint water, and vinegar and strain again, through fine mesh or coffee filter. Measure and place in a pan, adding cup for cup of sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to boiling and cook rapidly until the jelly will set. Bottle and seal. Serve with meat, especially lamb, or on toast, in sandwiches etc

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Old 10-21-2006, 10:06 AM   #2
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Jelly will "set" or jell when you pour the hot jelly off of the side of a spoon the liquid does not come off in individual droplets but comes off in a sheet. The drops come together on the bottom edge of the spoon.
I'll see if I can find a temperature.
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Old 10-21-2006, 10:09 AM   #3
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I use a cold saucer to test, like jam....I keep a couple in the freezer and when I can draw my spoon through the jelly JUST leaving a track I take it as ready...I like it only just set so a more determined track would leave a stronger set jelly I guess
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Old 10-21-2006, 10:50 AM   #4
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Thank you, Gretchen and lulu!

As of right now, I have a cup and a half of apple juice, but it's cloudy - is that okay? I guess it won't look like the storebought clear mint jelly, even if I add green food coloring, but that's okay, huh?

You think I should use white vinegar or lemon juice for my acid?

Lee
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Old 10-21-2006, 11:48 AM   #5
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I would use lemon, no question.

When you strain the juice through cloth did you push the pulp? That can make it cloudy. I put mine to drip very slowly through several layers of muslin or a jelly bag.

Sounds like fun...I love jelly making!
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Old 10-21-2006, 04:59 PM   #6
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No, lulu, I didn't push the pulp, since I read that it would make the juice cloudy.

I have strained the juice 4 times, through a t-shirt WITH a coffee filter and it's still cloudy. grrrr! Guess my mint jelly will have to be a cloudy green, since I am planning to add food coloring, too.

Thanks so much for your help!

NOW, if I could only find a good deal on lamb!

Lee
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Old 10-22-2006, 09:27 PM   #7
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Well, although this thread is of little interest to most members, I do feel compelled to report my failure.

The jelly never reached the "set point", even after boiling and boiling. I didn't have any store-bought pectin, so I thought I could boil it into setting.

Nope.

I finally gave up and left the pot of jelly turned off, on the stove overnight. The mint flavor had disappeared and the lovely green color had turned into a sickly green-yellow. In the morning, the stuff had only set to a sludgey-slime state.

I tossed it all.

I don't know what I did wrong. Maybe I strained too much pectin out of the Granny Smith apples. And/or maybe store-bought pectin is the way to go, for added insurance.

Thank you again, Gretchen and lulu for trying to help. I think the temp I was looking for was 220, or 8 degrees above boiling water. I got that, but the mixture still didn't sheet off my spoon.

Oh well, failures make victories all the sweeter!

Lee
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Old 10-23-2006, 12:01 AM   #8
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If you boiled your apples peeled then you got no pectin. The pectin is in the peel and apples have a lot--that is the source of the powdered pectin.
I have made jelly both ways--with and without added pectin. It is just so much easier to use pectin and know that after all your work you will have a finished product--particularly if you have never done it before.
The amount of apples used in this is not a whole lot. The science of jelling is that the water needs to boil off to the point that the pectin will allow the jelling.
I am really sure that the jelling point is much higher than 220*, but the real point will be when the sheet is formed. If your juice was "boiling" at that temp then it needed to continue to do so until the mix was not so dilute and would jell. That is not very clear, but maybe you can get the idea from it.

Here is something from the internet. I think 140*C is a good bit higher than 220, but not sure. And another jelling test.

Getting the right set can be tricky. I have tried using a jam thermometer but find it easier to use the following method.
Before you start to make the jelly, put a couple of plates in the fridge so that the warm jam can be drizzled onto a cold plate (when we make jam we often forget to return the plate to the fridge between tests, using two plates means that you have a spare cold plate). Return the plate to the fridge to cool for approx two minutes. It has set when you run your finger through it and leave a crinkly track mark. If after two minutes the cooled jam is too liquid, continue to boil the jelly, testing it every few minutes until you have the right set. The jelly is far more delicious if it is slightly runny. It does get firmer after a few months. Jelly set temperature is 140c
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Old 10-23-2006, 09:01 PM   #9
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Like Gretchen said - the pectin is in the peels, seeds and core. If you peeled and cored the apples - you threw away your pectin.

You need a candy/fry thermometer, and place a small plate (saucer/salad plate) and a metal spoon in the freezer for a "double check".

At sea level you need to heat your jelly to 220-F ... but I always use the spoon "sheet" test as a 2nd verification after 2-3 minutes at the target temp, and the cold plate as the 3rd verification after the spoon sheet test since the "temp" is just a therotical point and the jam/jelly may actually need to be cooked a little more. I learned this the hard way ... the temp doesn't always mean it's done.
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Old 10-24-2006, 07:21 AM   #10
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And I said that it might not be 220*F--and it is of course. I have just never done it that way and have now learned!
But with jellies as with other things that you measure by temp (fudge, brittle, etc.), as you watch your thermometer you see it stay at "just" below the temp you want for a long time. That is the critical part of the cooking--getting the ingredients to the proper ratio to do the reaction that is desired. "Almost" 220 is not enough--but you will have nice syrup, I will add! I make blueberry jelly and some syrup also. Just cook a little less.
Blueberries have a LOT of pectin by the way--easy to make jelly.
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