Sunday, November 13, 2011

Daddy's Jelly

I took a special trip home to see my Daddy this weekend.  Luckily with Friday being Veteran's Day, I was off work.  I set out Friday morning with the husband and dogs in tow.  Traffic was a breeze and 4.5 hours later we made it into town.  Oh!  I forgot to mention I didn't tell my Daddy I was coming.  I wanted to surprise him.  Amazingly, neither of my sisters let on that I was coming.  You'd have to know them to realize how big that was.  Anyway, I drove the whole way and it was OK with the exception of a couple moments of  sleepiness.  Luckily the husband actually agreed to sing along with me. Car singing is always an eye opener. 

We hit town right at 2 o'clock so the husband called my Dad on his cell.  My Dad was so surprised when my husband said, 'We are home.  We will be there in ten minutes.'  I could almost see the shock on his face.  Lol.  It was awesome.  He was out running errands by the time we got to his house but he left the doors unlocked for us so we had plenty of time to get settled in and rest a little.  Once he came he had so much to tell us but I eventually ended his curiosity telling him that I intended on making jelly with him this weekend.  He was surprised.  We'd been talking about this for some time now but I just couldn't seem to find the time to do it whenever we were down.  Well, this trip was just for that.  He was so happy he started going through my Mom's recipes right away trying to find the plum recipe because he knows that's my favorite flavor. 

He was so nervous.  Not that he would admit it but it was obvious.  He showed me the recipe 5 times and kept asking me if I read over it.  I just politely kept telling him yes.  He pulled out every box of jars from the closet.  That night he showed me the jug of plum juice three times asking me if I thought it would be OK sitting out all night to thaw.  Again, I nodded and said yes all three times.  I found it amusing and almost heartbreaking to see my Dad like this.  I knew he would be excited to be doing it but I never expected the nervousness.  I think it was because  this was the first time he would be doing it without my Mom being there. He kept saying things like,' I know your Mama would use a certain amount but I just can't remember how much' or 'I can't remember if she liked to use this pot or that one.'  Each time he would get a little flustered and frustrated because he wanted to do exactly what she would do.  You also have to remember that he had surgery on his brain a couple of years back so sometimes his memory is not as good as he would like.  But I think he's doing just fine. 

Anyway, we got down to jelly making business Saturday night.  My 8-year old niece decided to assist me in documenting this Father-Daughter moment.  She was so excited to have a part and she did quite well.  Rather than continue going on and on about it, I will just show you the pictures.

This is my Daddy. 

This is the plum juice.  It's from wild plums. I don't know the actual name of them.

Contemplating one recipe or two. We decided on one.

I'm 'helping'. Yes I am...


We opted for the 4 pint recipe.

And it begins!

I'm still helping. Truthfully, I was just there to hand him things.

Like handing him themometer, lids, rims, etc.

Yep...steam and stickiness.

We think it's ready.

Skimming the foam.

This was the fun part. I handed him the hot jars by the way.

This is a hot job. See Dad sweat. Or maybe it was nerves.

Giving them a final hot bath.

Voila! Plum jelly. Ain't it purty?

Oh! Can't forget to include the photographer.
  And that's how it went.  We were both so proud of it. I know my Mom would have been grinning from ear to ear seeing us working to get this done.  We only did 4 pint jars but plan on making 12 the next time so that there is plenty to give away.   I'll leave my Mom's recipe ( the one we used).  I promise it will ruin you for store bought jelly. Enjoy!

Mama's Plum Jelly

5 1/2 C Plum juice
1 pkg powdered pectin
7 1/2 C sugar

Combine juice and pectin in large pot.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.  Return to a boil.  Boil hard 1 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.  Fill hot jars leaving 1/2 inch space on top.  Process 5 minutes in boiling water bath. 

Yield:  4 pint jars.

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