The easiest way to make a jar of home-made jelly or jam is hiding on a store shelf and we just never think of using it. For small batches of jellies and Jam there is no reason you can not use a store-bought juice.The only requirement is that the juice must have NO sugar added.
Our small town Kroger is closing, so I did what everyone does when a store closes. I hit the sale shelves for bargains. Well the one I found most interesting was that 100% organic, no sugar added juices were clearanced down to $1.00 for 32 oz. So I bought a couple along with 10 pounds of organic sugar and a 50% off sale of pectin. I knew that a winter jelly mix up was in order on one of these cold snowy days
As with any jelly making that I do, I look up what I want to make in a Ball canning book and read up on what the recommendations are for this type of juice. Black Cherry is very sweet when compared to a choke cherry or sour cherry. The more sour the fruit the more acidic it is, so my juice will be low in acid. I chose to use two table spoons of lemon juice to correct this problem and followed the advice of my cook book and used two full packets of Sure-Gell liquid pectin. So with just 3 cups of a nice flavored juice and 6 1/2 cups of sugar, a little lemon juice and some pectin I was able to put together about 7 half pints of organic jelly in about thirty mins for about 1 dollar a jar. Not a bad way to spend a morning if you ask me and my family.
As always I wash and sterilize my jars, lids, and rings in a boiling water bath. I always add at least on extra jar to what the directions say, I have many times had about a full extra jar of jelly after filling.
Then add the juice, sugar and lemon to a 7 quart stock pot and raise the temperature slowly to a rolling boil
Let this mixture boil one minute then add two packets of liquid Pectin. Slowly return mixture to full boil that will not beat down with stirring and cook one full minute. Remove from heat and remove any foam with spoon.
Ladle very hot syrup into prepared jars that are cooling on towels. I some times use rubber gloves for this as getting burned by hot sugar syrup is a terrible. I also use a canning funnel keep the jars as clean as possible. If all goes well a nice thin veil of jelly will form across the top of each jar as soon as it cools a bit. I then take a spoon and slide this film and all the bubbles off the top each jar, dispose of this thick foamy jell into a bowl or saucer. Wipe down every jar making sure the top lip is very clean to make a good seal on the lids. Seal jars with clean rings and lids allow to cool and wait for the typical popping sound of a seal jar.
Black Cherry Juice jelly
3 cups black cherry juice (mine was organic)
6 1/2 cups of sugar ( mine was fair trade organic)
two table spoons lemon juice
One full box, two pouches liquid Pectin
7 half pint jars lids and rings
With the remaining bottle of juice I plan to make an organic Black Cherry Jam adding in a blender full of thawed no sugar added black cherries to this basic recipe. I will still need the lemon and the two pouches of pectin but this will use up the other juice and add a little texture to the spread. The family loves the idea and has already started eating the jelly.