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Thread: Cactus jelly

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    Cactus jelly

    I made prickly pear jelly using Certo and for some reason it did not jell. I went exactly by the instructions. Can someone tell me how I can insure that it jells properly. I live at 4,200' elevation and I have taken that into consideration. Is Certo better than Sure Jell?

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    Moderator CM's Avatar
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    First, use a jelly thermometer. Stir occasionally until the temperature of the jelly reaches 216°F, then watch closely because at that point the jelly cooks quickly and the temperature rises much more rapidly as the juice becomes concentrated. If the proportions of the pectin, acid, sugar and juice are correct, the temperature of the boiling juice at the jellying point will be from 219°F to 221°F at sea level, or about 7-10 degrees above the boiling point of water at your altitude. At higher altitudes the finishing point of jelly will be somewhat lower because the boiling point of all liquids decreases with increase in elevation.

    If using commercial pectin, follow the instructions to the letter and don't reduce sugar or lemon juice if called for. Don't substitute one type of fruit for another that's called for in the recipe, and boil it until it passes the jelly test (two drops will fall together from the side of a clean spoon instead of one that is dipped into the boiling jelly. Learn to do this test even when using a thermometer as a double-check).

    Different kinds of pectin aren't interchangeable (ie liquid pectin and powdered pectin or freezer or no-sugar added pectin aren't good substitutes for each other).

    For the best jelly, don't allow the fruit to simmer - cook it quickly over high heat in a heavy bottom pan to prevent scorching, while stirring often. Long cooking makes the jelly cloudy and dull with a "cooked" taste rather than clear and bright with a fresh taste.

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