Note: Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude is a weekly feature about food, food and more FOOD. No, I do not necessarily want to be a food blogger, but I do LOVE to talk about food prep, cooking food, eating food and making sweet love to food. Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. This is not meant to be some homage to 9 1/2 Weeks, after all.
Last weekend, I headed over to my friend Christy's to do some good, old-fashioned canning. My friends Celeste and LuAnn soon joined us (Celeste, aka Average Jane, also wrote about our experience.)
Christy grew up near Pratt, Kansas - a land chock full of Sandhill Plums. Last year, she brought me a jar of Sandhill Plum jelly and I was immediately in love. Sandhill Plums look like a bright red, orangeish cherry with a similar-looking pit. But they are super tart. However, mixed with some sugar and pectin, they make a sweet, lovely jelly with a just mere punch of tart.
A few weeks ago, Christy spent a day out near Pratt, riding through pastures and reaching through prickly, bug-infested bushes to pick Sandhill Plums.
10 Gallons worth, to be somewhat exact(ish):
She also purchased a crapton of sugar and pectin:
We all donated some jars:
Then, we got started.
We cooked some plums:
Then, we strained the plums, cooked the "jelly juice", skimmed the foam and filled the jars.
Each jar's rim had to be carefully wiped to ensure a good seal:
Then each jar was treated to hot water bath to entice some proper sealing.
After the jelly was done, we got to work on the jam. First, the plums had to mashed through a food mill. By hand, with a huge, wooden pestle.
It was probably the least pleasant of all the tasks:
After mashing the pulp through the food mill, by hand, we cooked the jam down with more sugar, more pectin. Then, we filled jars. Again.
After 6 hours of work, we had 48 half-pints and 9 full pints of jelly and jam.
Aren't they pretty?
I am hoping this will become an annual tradition. How often does one get to spend an entire day with friends they love AND come home bearing jars of jelly?
And now, I need to figure out where to hide my stash of Sandhill Plum jelly from my family because seriously, they are not worthy.
*The full set of photos can be found here.