Fruit strainers are not the most glamorous of kitchen kit. They don’t look particularly elegant sitting on a counter top, nor decorative on open shelves, however they are extremely helpful when making preserves, cheese or home brewed wine or beer.
Using a fruit strainer
Jelly is essentially very smooth jam. To make jelly you proceed in the same manner as making standard jam, but along the way everything but the juice is strained out. Jelly looks smooth and translucent compared to jam, as it doesn’t contain any fruit pulp, seeds or lumps but only juice and sugar. It is equally delicious on toast and scones and melts easily in cooking. However jelly is not really substantial enough to provide a base for tarts or use in cakes.
While jams will often set without any added pectin, jelly needs the help of proper preserving sugar provide the pectin it needs to set.
A really good straining method is key to the attractive, glossy finish of a fruit jelly as any seeds or fruit pulp in the mixture will give a cloudy appearance, and Wares of Knutsford can help you to achieve this. In the preserving equipment department you will find a range of fruit strainer and straining kits, including simple sheets of butter muslin or cheesecloth, a heavy duty cotton straining bag and complete kits including cloth and stand.
Blackberry jelly using a fruit strainer
The apples in this recipe provide plenty of pectin to help achieve a fairly firm set. This jelly is delicious with cheese and biscuits.
- 1.3 kg fresh blackberries, washed
- 2 cooking apples, washed, cored and diced
- 450ml water
- Juice of one lemon
- Preserving sugar
Place the fruit, lemon juice and water into a large, heavy based saucepan or preserving pan and bing to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes. The fruit needs to be completely soft.
Pour the mixture into your straining bag, set above a bowl, and leave for about eight hours or until all the juice has passed through. Measure the amount of juice you have and add 450g of preserving sugar for every 600ml of liquid. Place the juice and sugar into a clean pan and heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the mixture reaches setting point.
Remove any scum from the surface of the jelly and decant into clean, sterilised jam jars. Seal while still warm, then label and keep in a cool, dark place until needed.