Update posting on January 26, 2020
Enough commenters have mentioned that this recipe did not jell for them, and that they ended up with syrup that I need to address the problem. Rather than dismissing their complaints, I’m taking them to heart and want to warn you that there are good odds you will NOT end up with jelly. This recipe works well for me and others in my area (Mid-Michigan), but I can no longer guarantee it will work well for you. If you would enjoy a syrup… now that I can reasonably guarantee will happen! Sorry, folks!
(Original recipe below, verbatim)
Because extensive searching on the internet for a good, solid, Juneberry jelly recipe yielded up really, really dismal results (and incidentally, Jam and Jelly are entirely separate things, internet search parameters!) I have taken it upon myself to post EXACTLY how to make really, really good Juneberry jelly.
FIRST: Most of you are saying “What’s a Juneberry?” Good question. Juneberries also are called serviceberries, Saskatoon, and ten thousand other names. I personally had never heard of them myself until our landlord planted a bunch of what he called Serviceberry trees in our two-acre yard, some years ago. For many years, the birds beat us to all the berries, but this year, for some special, magical reason, the trees produced a record number of berries and the birds seemed blase about them. We picked a bunch of them while red, and made jelly, which is good but not amazing. But when we picked them purple and made jelly, WORDS FAIL ME. SO GOOD.
SECOND: The berry color matters. Don’t pick them yellow, EVER, and don’t even pick them red – be patient, battle the birds, do whatever you gotta do but only harvest fully ripe, succulent purple berries. They’ve got the juice and the flavor you need.
THIRD: Juice the berries. Throw them in a saucepan with about a half cup of water and boil them up. When they are bubbly, mash them down with a potato masher to release all the juice. Cool, strain to obtain clear juice, and if you are so inclined, throw the pulp in the blender to make a smoothie, or puree it smooth to dry for fruit leathers. Or toss it out. I don’t judge.
FOURTH: Make da jelly! Here comes the recipe. This recipe assumes you have basic canning equipment and knowledge, including a hot water bath pot.
MAGNIFICENTLY PERFECT (UNLESS YOU HAVE PECTIN PROBLEMS, SEE COMMENTS!) JUNEBERRY JELLY
- Get 7 jelly jars scrubbed with very hot water and soap, rinsed well, and waiting. Same with 7 rings. Get 7 lids simmering in a small saucepan. Get your hot water bath heating.
- Pour 3-1/2 cups of Juneberry juice into a large pan.
- Add 5 teaspoons of powdered Pectin (buy it in a plastic jar, and you can measure it out. Juneberries need LESS pectin than other berries. Thus, those boxed packets of pre-measured pectin are too much! You need a little less.)
- Bring the juice and the pectin to a rolling boil, while whisking it the entire time. Hold the boil for a full minute.
- Add 4 cups of regular granulated sugar.
- Bring to a boil again, whisking all the way, and hold it for a minute.
- QUICKLY (it’s gonna jell!) ladle the jelly into the jars leaving 1/4 inch head space at the top.
- Add lids, twist on rings, boil in hot water bath for ten minutes.
- If you did everything right, and the berries were purple – you now possess the finest jelly in the universe. Congratulations.