"Now, Ann had not forgotten when her birthday came, for that meant a party and feasting and dancing, but she had quite forgotten how many years the birthdays marked. In a land where people live always, this is not considered a cause for regret, so we may justly say that Queen Ann of Oogaboo was old enough to make jelly—and let it go at that."
— L. Frank Baum, Tik-Tok of Oz
I've been old enough to make jelly for some time. When I was growing up, I recall helping my mom make strawberry and peach jam on numerous occasions, and one year I took the initiative and made cherry preserves when we had an unusually vigorous crop from our cherry tree.
Until yesterday, the only canning I'd done as an adult was a batch of strawberry jam a couple of years ago when I belonged to a CSA. Still, the process has remained pretty much the same over time, so I was eager to help out when my friend, Christy, invited a group of us over to make jelly and jam out of wild Sand Hill plums.
Four of us got together yesterday and began cooking down fruit for the first double batch of jelly around 11:00 a.m. Christy had all the necessary tools and supplies:
We started out by making as much jelly as we could from the juice of almost 10 gallons of plums, and then strained the pulp from the remaining cooked fruit for a couple of batches of jam.
You may recognize Cagey there on the left. Our non-blogging friend, LuAnn, is on the right.
For the second batch of jam we added some regular plums from the grocery store because we were coming up short on pulp. Whereas the earlier jam had been almost pumpkin-colored, this batch was a brilliant ruby red.
The whole process took about six hours (not counting all of Christy's extensive prep work before we arrived). All told, we ended up with 48 half-pints and 9 full pints of jelly and jam.
A big thank you to Christy for a fun afternoon and especially for providing all the supplies and letting us take home some jelly and jam. I'm looking forward to my next opportunity to do some canning.