Thursday, July 18, 2013

Canning Raspberry "B" Jelly



Years ago, a good friend of mine used to tell me that she made beet jelly.  Beet jelly??  Ugh... I couldn't imagine why anyone would eat jelly made out of beets!  Years later, before I  had even tasted a real beet, another friend and I traded some of our favorite recipes.  It was something we decided to do while both of us were venting about having to cook the same old thing all of the time.  We were looking for fresh, new ideas for supper.  This friend was also the queen pickler!  She made all sorts of pickles, bread & butter pickles, garlic dill pickles, even CINNAMON pickles!  In addition to some recipes for supper ideas, Suzanne gave me this recipe for raspberry beet jelly. 

Well... this recipe is one of my favorite ever, greatest of all time, best of the best - recipes.  I know many people will scoff at the thought of jelly made with beets.  I tell you, it is delicious!  It tastes like the inside of a jelly donut.  In fact, when I make homemade yeast donuts, I fill donuts with this very jelly.  It combines the juice from cooking beets with raspberry jello, sugar, and pectin.  And it's just really, really good.

After Suzanne gave me this recipe and some beets from her garden, I made this recipe.  I also tried fresh beets for the first time in my life and fell in love with them!  They are such a beautiful vegetable.  Pickled and sweet, they are even better, and the best part about this recipe is that you only use the juice.  You can still eat and pickle the beets so nothing goes to waste.

I can honestly tell you that there are a few recipes in my soul that are the best!  I would say that my homemade Chicken & Dumplings (the recipe for which I got from the very same friend who first mentioned "beet jelly"), my recipe for Schoolhouse Rolls, a recipe for salsa that I will post when my tomatoes get ready, my Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake recipe, and this Raspberry (Beet) Jelly are among the top of my list of my best recipes ever.

When I first started making this jelly, I wrote "Raspberry B Jelly" on the jars.  My kids never knew this jelly was made with beet juice and let me tell you, I have some picky kids!

I have made this jelly with strawberry jello.  It's great, but not as great as the raspberry.  I have also made it with grape jello because my husband loves grape jelly.  But it wasn't good.  The grape jello just didn't make good jelly.  You should know that going in LOL!

If you have beets in your garden or can get your hands on some beets, MAKE THIS JELLY!  You will love it!  And if you make donuts?  Fill some with this jelly, sugar the outside of the donuts, and you will think you are in paradise!

Here's how I make Rasberry (Beet) Jelly AT HOME MY WAY:
 
Raspberry (Beet) Jelly
  • 6 cups beet juice
  • 8 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 (6 ounce) package raspberry jello (or two 3-oz packages)
  • 2 packages (1 3/4 oz) pectin (not Ball Brand, only use Surejell)

Instructions:

To make the juice, boil 1/2 gallon of raw, washed beets.  Do not cut off the root or slice them in any way.  Trim beet greens (leaves) to about 1 inch.  Cover the beets in a pot of water (at least 6 cups of water).  Cover and boil 30 minutes or until skins slip off.  The pot of beets/water may swell up (double) so allow room in the pot for expansion.  Let the pot of beets/water cool.  I let mine cool overnight to really let the beets "steep" in the water and let any dredges settle on the bottom.  After they cool, or after an overnight steep, remove the beets (I use tongs), strain through a tea-towel or cheese cloth (I put my cheese cloth or the tea towel in my colander and put my colander over a big bowl for the juice).  Leave the last bit of juice in the pot because it will have the dredges/residue from the beets.  (They are grown in dirt, right?)

Measure your juice.  If you don't have enough, add water to make 6 cups and proceed.

To make jelly:

Bring beet juice and lemon juice to a hard boil with the pectin.  Stir well.  After a hard boil, stir in sugar and jello all at once (have the sugar premeasured so it is ready to go).  Bring to a good rolling boil.  Boil and stir for 6 minutes (IT WILL SWELL UP SO ALLOW ROOM).  Put in sterilized jars.  Apply sterilized rings & lids.  Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes. 

It may take a few days to completely set up.  Just make sure to use SUREJELL (not the low sugar kind or anything) and not Ball brand pectin.  It never works worth a flip!




 I am sharing this recipe at Carole's Chatter
Enjoy!
 
Gina


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