Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Plum tuckered out

Our yard has a total of nine or so fruit trees, not counting the pecan that desperately needs a girl pecan tree to be fruitful. Even after knowing about the issue with the fruitless pecan tree that towers over our backyard making worthless, empty nut shells, we just might have planted some dud cherry trees too. Who knew that trees were so picky in the fruit making department - aren't the bees supposed to be taking care of all that pollen stuff?

Two trees we never have to worry about are the plum trees. One sour and one sweet, they certainly know how to make fruit. This year all the fruit came a bit early and furiously, so we were busy plum processors. Ernst was the resident picker, fruit washer, pitter and juice processor. I just gave moral support and occasionally was chief bottle washer.

The majority of the plums went into making our now infamous Hungover Hound Plum Cider. To make plum cider, you need to make plum juice, and do we ever make the plum juice. While some might make plum juice by squishing up a bunch of plums and then straining the liquid, we have the juice-making contraption that puts the fear of plum-colored kitchen walls in me. I come home to scary scenes of a giant pot bubbling on the stove, with plastic tubes and crimping devices holding back the burning purple liquid. So I usually just go outside in the shade of the infertile pecan tree and hope for the best.

After the plum cider is taken care of, we have quite a bit of gorgeous plum juice left. It really could not be easier to make jelly than when someone hands you a large amount of clear and beautiful fruit juice that you didn't have to juice yourself. Making jelly is quite simple. It's all in the attitude. If you tell yourself it's easy, it's easy. But that might be the plum cider talking.

This juice, besides threatening to stain the walls plum, is slated to become cider.

Now this is plum juice for plum jelly.
About six cups is all you need.
I won't say how much sugar is needed because it's a disgusting amount.

I must have this brand pectin.
Must have the SureJell.

I usually let the dishwasher do the jar sterilizing.

But I don't trust anything except a pan of boiling water for the lids and seals.

Learn. From. Me.
Put. Down. Big. Towel.
And get one of those things that looks like a fat funnel. 
OK, I admit, there are lots more steps I'm leaving out, but they are all included in the easy directions that come with the SureJell. All you need is fruit, sugar and SureJell. And plum cider. And that weird funnel thing. You'll be making jam or jelly in no time. Or lots of ice cream topping if for some reason it doesn't work, but that's really tasty too. If you try to forget how much sugar you added. 

Plum Jelly!

Plum Jelly off to the California State Fair!
The little guys won first place.
Which is given to more than one person or jelly.
The Orange Marmalade won too.
So did the Orange and Lemon Jelly.
First place.
I think the judge got a hold of some plum cider, but I'll accept.

This Friday is the Orange Marmalade Competition.
And that will be it for canning, until next year.