How to make homemade jelly: creating 20 uninterrupted minutes for yourself

In our ever-connected world, carving time for yourself can seem impossible. Emails, meetings, kids, laundry, dinner…there’s a never-ending list of chores to be done. Add on wish-list books to read, Pinterest, Instagram, netflix…and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. While I can’t make your to-do list any shorter, I can help you create 20 minutes for yourself…make homemade jelly. know what you’re thinking.

WTH, Stef?! You’re not helping me, you’re adding more crap to my list.

Just wait…really, this is good.

Sure, you could run to the store and pick up a jar, but that won’t bring you this escape.

Jelly is my go-to condiment. I hate syrup. And I’m not a huge fan of mayo. But jelly can go on everything. So realizing there’s no spare jar in the pantry was kind of a big deal. You already know that I’m too lazy to run to the store for one ingredient, and at the time my kids were young- and it was winter- so that tacked on it’s own set of “this will be anything but a quick trip” to the store. figured, why not try to make my own, it can’t be that hard.

You know that old commercial where the lady making Rice Krispies covers herself in flour so that it looks like it was really time-consuming work? Yeah, it’s kind of like that.

Because you’re only making one to two jars, there’s no long involved canning process (jars sanitized in the dishwasher work just fine) and there’ s no pectin- which means the final product won’t be quite as thick as store bought.

You need three ingredients…frozen fruit, sugar, and lemon. That’s it.

Here’s where the alone time comes in.

Though the steps are simple, it has to be stirred continuously for 15-20 minutes. Since you’re heating sugar, any of the mixture that splatters hurts, so you don’t want little ones nearby.

Since continual stirring prevents it from burning, you need to set up camp: a tall stool (or a clear spot to sit on the counter), phone, ipad, books, magazines…whatever you “have to do” because you can’t stop stirring or the “WHOLE THING WILL BE RUINED!”

See…I told you it’d work out nicely for you. Uninterrupted time (can’t risk little ones getting burned, so they should stay out of the kitchen!) to catch up on shows, emails, or whatever suits your fancy.

Ready to get started?

  1. Empty a 10-12 oz bag of frozen fruit into a large saucepan (I like the Trader Joes Organic berry medley)
  2. Place a small freezer-safe plate in the freezer.
  3. Gather your can’t move for 20-minutes essentials.
  4. Add 1 tbsp. lemon to the pan
  5. Turn the heat on to medium
  6. Add @ 3/4 c sugar (or slightly more if your bag of fruit is over 12 oz- or use less, it’s your jelly- you’re in control!)
  7. Crush the fruit with back of spoon or potato masher as you heat through
  8. Add sugar and increase to med-high heat and bring to a boil, continually stir
  9. Once boiling, continually stir 8-10 minutes. Careful! Splatters hurt! Turn the heat down a bit if splattering too much.
  10. Test for readiness by putting a spoonful of the jelly onto the freezer plate. Let it sit for a minute, the run your finger through it. If it’s watery or thin, keep cooking/stirring a couple more minutes then retest. If it holds its shape, you’re done.
  11. Remove pan from heat. Then spoon/pour into jars (I usually get 2-3 weck jars from a 12 oz bag)
  12. Cover jars and refrigerate.

Not so bad, right? In 20 minutes you have delicious homemade jelly and you read through your favorite magazine!

Don’t have a full bag of frozen fruit? Mix up leftover half bags that are filling up the freezer so they don’t go to waste.

Once you’ve finished the jar and think you can’t spoon any more jelly out of the jar…Don’t rinse it out just yet! Make sure you watch my “10-Second Tuesday” tip to turn it into a fabulous cocktail.

Coffee in bed photo credit
Jelly photo credit

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