This is all Brock (the girls helped him pick the berries), but I wanted to make sure that this recipe is easy to find (I’m the official jam maker). Jelly is straightforward but it takes time, so it’s great that you can do your summer harvesting and then freeze the berries. We picked ours in season, washed them carefully, allowed them to dry on paper towel and then measured and bagged them up for the freezer – thaw the berries before starting the jelly. This recipe is borrowed from the ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen – enjoy! **We tried this recipe with about double the amount of frozen berries…I chose to not add any water when simmering and mashing them, and then still got just the 6 cups of juice. This time though we got closer to 11 cups of jelly.**
Nanking Cherry Jelly
16 to 18 c. ripe nanking cherries
1 1/4 c. water
Combine the cherries and water in a large pot, bring it all to a boil, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. Use a potato masher to mash the berries regularly while they’re simmering. To strain the juice, we lined a large colander with cheese cloth, then set the colander on a jar inside a large bowl. Leave this overnight to drain, stirring occasionally, and if it’s still juicy looking in the morning, change the cheesecloth and allow it to drain for a few more hours (you’ll need an extra set of hands to maneuver this). Basically do what you can to squeeze out 6 cups of nanking juice – we were just shy this time and used apple juice to make it up.
6 c. nanking cherry juice
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 box (57 g) Certo Crystals
7 c. sugar
Stir the lemon juice and Certo into the nanking juice in a large pot and bring then mixture to a full, rolling boil while stirring constantly. Stir in the sugar, then continue to stir over high heat until the mixture returns to a full rolling boil, then boil hard for 2 minutes – don’t stop stirring!
Remove the pot from the heat, remove any foam that may have appeared, then pour the mixture into hot, sterilized jars (you can boil the jars or take them right out of the sanitized cycle of the dishwasher), leaving about a 1/4 inch of headspace. Wipe the jar rims thoroughly, seal the jars and then process each one in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. This should make about 9 cups of jelly.