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.