Jellies were formerly reputed nourishing, digestible, and fit food for sick and delicate persons, but modern investigation places them second to the lean part of animals and birds. When made of gelatine, they have no nutrition, and are simply used to carry a palatable flavor.
Always make jellies in a porcelain kettle, if possible, but brass may be used if scoured very bright and the fruit is removed immediately on taking from the fire. Use the best refined or granulated sugar, and do not have the fruit, especially currants and grapes, overripe.
To extract the juice, place fruit in kettle with just enough water to keep from burning, stir often, and let remain on the fire until thoroughly scalded; or a better but rather slower method is to place it in a stone jar set within a kettle of tepid water, boil until the fruit is well softened, stirring frequently, and then strain a small quantity at a time through a strong coarse flannel or cotton bag wrung out of hot water, after which let it drain, and squeeze it with the hands as it cools, emptying the bag and rinsing it off each time it is used. The larger fruits, such as apples and quinces, should be cut in pieces, cores removed if at all defective, water added to just cover them, boiled gently until tender, turned into bag and placed to drain for three or four hours, or over night. Make not over two or three pints of jelly at a time, as larger quantities require longer boiling. As a general rule allow equal measures juice and sugar. Boil juice rapidly ten minutes from the first moment of boiling, skim, add sugar, and boil ten minutes longer; or spread the sugar in a large dripping-pan, set in the oven, stir often to prevent burning, boil the juice just twenty minutes, add the hot sugar, let boil up once, and pour into the jelly-glasses immediately, as a thin skin forms over the surface which keeps out the air; cover with brandied tissue paper, cut to fit glass closely, cool quickly and set in a dry, cool, dark place. Jelly should be examined toward the end of summer, and if there are any signs of fermentation, reboil. Jelly needs more attention in damp, rainy seasons than in others. To test jelly, drop a little in a glass of very cold water, and if it immediately falls to the bottom it is done; or drop in a saucer, and set on ice or in a cool place; if it does not spread, but remains rounded, it is finished. Some strain through the bag into the glasses, but this involves waste, and if skimming is carefully done is not necessary. A little butter or lard, rubbed with' a cloth on the outside of glasses or cans, will enable one to pour in the boiling fruit or liquid, the first spoon or two slowly, without breaking the glass. If jelly is not very firm, let it stand in the sun covered with bits of window-glass or pieces of mosquito netting, for a few days. Never attempt to make jelly in damp or cloudy weather if firmness and clearness are desired. Use a wooden or silver spoon to stir, dip with earthen cup, and cook in porcelain-lined kettles. Currants and berries should be made up as soon as picked; never let them stand over night. When ready to put away, cover with pieces of tissue or writing-paper cut to fit and pressed closely upon the jelly, and put on the lid or cover with thick paper, brushed over on the inside with the white of an egg. and turned down on the outside of glass.
Apple or Blackberry Jelly. Prepare nice, tart, juicy apples as in general directions, using three quarters of a pint of sugar to a pint of juice. Prepare blackberry jelly according to general directions for berries.
Calf's-foot Jelly. Cut across the first joint, and through the hoof, place in a large sauce-pan, cover with cold water, and bring quickly to the boiling point; when water boils, remove them, and wash thoroughly in cold water. When perfectly clean put into a porcelain-lined saucepan, add cold water in the proportion of three pints to two calf's feet, put sauce-pan over fire, and when water boils, set aside to a cooler place,, where it will simmer very slowly for five hours; strain the liquor through a fine sieve, or a coarse towel, let it stand over night to set, remove the fat that has risen to the top, dip a towel in boiling water, and wash the surface, which will be quite firm. Now place in a porcelain-lined sauce-pan, and melt, add juice of two lemons, rinds of three cut into strips, one-fourth pound of cut loaf-sugar, ten cloves, and one inch of cinnamon stick. Put the whites of three eggs, together with the shells (which must first be blanched in boiling water), into a bowl, beat them slightly, and pour them into the sauce-pan, continuing to use the egg-beater until the whole boils, when the pan should be drawn aside where it will simmer gently for ten minutes, skimming off all scum as it rises. While simmering, prepare a piece of flannel by pouring through it a little warm water; and when the jelly has simmered ten minutes, pour it through this bag into a bowl, and repeat the process of straining until it is perfectly clear, when add a half gill of sherry (or brandy, or brandy and sherry mixed in equal proportions), stir well, pour into molds, and place upon ice or in a cool place until jelly sets and becomes firm enough to turn out and serve.