Friday, October 5, 2012

Mayhaw Jelly

This is the most common recipe in both Native and non-Native households in the southeast for this pretty little fruit.  This version uses pectin, which make it full-proof.  There are plenty of recipes out there on the web that give instruction for making this without pectin, since they are closely related to apples, they are fairly high in pectin; but better safe than sorry!  This jelly is a starting point.  It's great just by itself, but can also be used in any recipe that calls for jelly with great results!  Wonderful in Jelly Rolls!  Please note that though I'm writing here about these in fall as part of the celebration of October, Mayhaws actually ripen in the spring...usually in May.

Beautiful Mayhaws in Bloom.

3 lbs. ripe mayhaws
4 cups water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Sugar (this is going to vary)
3 to 6 oz. liquid pectin (the ratio for powdered is 1 tbsp. liquid
   equals 2 tsp. of the powdered)

1.  In a large saucepan, break up the fruit a bit, then add the water, mash again.  Bring this to a boil and cover.  Cook for 20 to 30 minutes.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  

2.  Meanwhile, line a colander with cheese or jelly cloth that has been wet.  Pour the mayhaw into this, and when it is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the juice with your hands.  You should have at least 4 cups of juice. [Now, if you don't want to make jelly, this juice can be used to a make delicious beverages!].  Pour this into a clean saucepan.  Freeze the pulp for another purpose.

3.  Add the lemon juice.  Taste the juice for sweetness.  Now start out by add 4 cups of sugar, let dissolve and stir again, re taste.  If this gets to sweet it will ruin the delicate tart flavor of the fruit, since you are using pectin, you can go with a lower sugar content here.  If the fruit are not that sweet, or were unripe  Add up to 4 more cups of sugar, one at a time, tasting each time.

4.  When sweet, place back onto heat, and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, boil for a couple of minute, stirring so it doesn't boil over.  Reduce heat and add the pectin--the amount depends on the amount of sugar you have used.  More pectin is needed for less sugar.  Bring back to a rolling boil and boil for a minute.  At this point it is useful to have a candy thermometer--it should be at 220 degrees.  Remove from heat and skim.  Place in sterilized jars and top with sterilized lids, the process in a water bath for 5 to 10 minutes to seal.  Some people prefer to seal with paraffin wax.  Canning wax comes with instructions if that is route you'd like to take.

If you are fortunate enough to have the juice, whether fresh or bought in commercial batches, then, obviously omit the first part.  But, taste the juice first.

If you don't want to go to the trouble of making jelly, the fresh fruit can be pickled.

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