Pretty pink jelly & a Valentine’s Day giveaway!

What an interesting song to come on randomly as I was typing this post. Because I do. I like food. I like making it, I like eating it, I like talking about it. Me & Jay have long conversations about food sometimes. Planning meals; either making them or eating them out someplace. I just enjoy it. We both do; I was lucky enough to find someone who gets as excited over it as I do. And furthermore… I like creating it. I like making something from something else- that’s probably the artist in me talking, but making a totally different “thing” out of a lot of random things is amazing. Like how using a mess of powders & liquids to make a cake is insane, when you think about it. Or using lemon juice, sugar & pectin to make jelly. The chemistry & artistry of cooking/baking is what gets me, I think. Oh, and eating. Eating too.

Remember back a few weeks ago, when I got all those Meyer lemons? They looked a little something like this:

If not, I suggest you refresh your memory. For the rest of you… well, back when I was going ‘Meyer lemon looney’ I also made some other things not included in that post. Specifically something pink. Pink jelly. Pink-colored Meyer lemon-cranberry jelly, actually. I can’t help it. I like pink… and I had to use up all those lemons, not to mention a half-bag of cranberries in my fridge!

It’s actually just a Meyer lemon jelly, but it turns a pinkish-red when you add cranberries. Also, the cranberries kind of get suspended in it. So it’s very cute. And perfect for the upcoming month of pink & red. Ah, but we aren’t up to that yet, are we? Nope. But… there is a special giveaway happening in this post that pertains to pink & Valentine’s Day. What kind of giveaway? Well it just so happens to be for a handmade table runner! Yes, me & Yoyo from topstitch.org are doing a giveaway for a 100% homemade, handmade Valentine’s Day table-runner! If you remember the one she made me for Christmas, then you know it was super adorable & made a perfect showcase for my table decorations. Well this one is just as cute, if not cuter! Look:

Even if you don’t like Valentine’s Day, how can you not like that? It’s pink! And red! And it has hearts! So… what do you have to do to win? Stay tuned, keep reading. The details are at the end of this post. Jelly first, people! Jelly first!

Funny thing is, long after after I made this but before I wrote up this post, the Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking blog posted a recipe for the same jelly! Except hers doesn’t have whole berries. Great minds think alike; or maybe the cliche I should use is that there is nothing new in the world? Either way, that’s another idea of executing the same basic concept. People ask me why I bother canning, well this is a perfect example. Have you ever seen Meyer lemon-cranberry jelly for sale in stores? No? Yeah me neither. Have you ever seen green coriander pickles for sale? Nope. How about candy apple jelly, have you ever seen that at Stop & Shop? Or gingerbread spice jelly? Nah, me neither. I rest my case. Although really, it goes beyond all that. There are tons of factors. The least of which being that it’s fun & enjoyable, and also much less wasteful. I mean, I got a ton of lemons from Molly & instead of letting them go bad by just letting them sit in a bowl looking pretty, I gave each lemon a new life: lemon curd, candied lemon peel, lemon cookies, and this jelly.

MEYER LEMON-CRANBERRY JELLY

Makes about 5 half-pints

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Meyer lemon juice (it took me about 9-10 lemons, they were on the small side)
  • 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice (for an acid boost)
  • 3 ½ cups white sugar
  • 1 ½ cups whole fresh cranberries
  • 1.25 ounces Certo liquid pectin (about ¾ of a pouch)

Directions:

  1. Juice the lemons and combine in a pan with bottled lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a boil for 1 minute.
  2. Remove the foam on the top of the mixture and add cranberries. Cook until the cranberries “pop”, being careful not to get burned by any liquid sugar, then add the pectin. Bring back to a boil. Remove from heat.
  3. Pour it into sterilized jars placed on a clean tea towel, wipe rims and place lids. The berries will probably all settle at the top, but that’s okay- don’t worry. Screw on the covers and turn upside down for 5 minutes. Turn the jars back over right side-up and allow to cool completely. After 12-24 hours make sure that the lids are sealed. Any jars not sealed, refrigerate & use immediately.

Because of all the acid, you don’t need to do a water bath for this recipe. Just be sure your jars & lids are fully sanitized. You will get some bubbles in there, just because of the addition of the floating berries & the flipping of the jars, but don’t worry. As long as your seals are good, you’re okay. If you feel as though you need to process it, then go right ahead. Just be sure to not over process it, because over-processing of jellies can cause them to darken and can make it soften so it won’t hold it’s shape and, well, it essentially can cease to be “jelly.” One thing to note: Meyer lemons are less tart than regular lemons. If you don’t have access to Meyer’s you can use regular lemons, but you will have to up the sugar amount slightly, maybe a half cup.

Oh- also, don’t overcook this jelly! Well, I mean, don’t overcook any jelly, but especially this one. You might be tempted to, but don’t. Between the lemon juice, packaged pectin & the pectin in the cranberries you’ll end up with a rock in a jar if you do. Seriously. You’ll end up with something similar to candy.

I say it makes 5 half-pints, but I didn’t use all half-pints. I actually used a mish-mosh of jars I had around: one 8oz. quilted jar, two 4oz. quilted jelly jars (regular mouth), one 8oz. Collection Elite jar & two 8oz. Kerr wide mouth jars. I just love those Kerr wide mouth 8oz. jars. I can only find them at one Ace Hardware store near me, why are they so rare? Anyway, this would probably be excellent on scones- especially a cranberry orange scone. Although I bet it’d compliment honey oat scones well, too. We had it with roast chicken & it was pretty spectacular, so keep in mind the savory option, particularly with poultry. But hey, anything is good on regular ol’ toast too, right?

And as per usual, I had to come up with a cute way to label them.

So in case you’re wondering, this wasn’t even the last of the Meyer lemons! I still had some left. There was much lemon pound cake, lemon cupcakes, lemonade, lemon water, dehydrated lemon slices & preserved lemons in my life. At least we know I won’t be getting scurvy anytime soon.

Okay… so now you’re wondering, how do I get your hands on that table runner? Easy. Go comment on this post at Topstitch.org. Yoyo will pick a winner via random.org on January 31st. So you have until then to enter… so go enter! Me & Yoyo will be doing this A LOT more this year, we’re gonna try to do 13 giveaways in 2012. So don’t hesitate to follow me & Yoyo on Twitter or become a Facebook fan of Cupcake Rehab to find out when the next giveaway will be.

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