Last year, Farmer Joe and I gave homemade/home canned goodie baskets for Christmas. One of the home canned things was an Apple Cider Jelly. My mom liked it so much she asked if I would help her make it this year so she can give it as presents to her Sunday School class among others. I told her no problem and we set the date. Which was today. I had already purchased the Apple Cider from Apple Hill Orchard, our local apple supplier, earlier this week so I headed down to Momma's about lunchtime. We got everything set up and ready to go in the kitchen - water bath heating, jars at the ready, seals in a pot heating; then I read my recipe. Strain through cheesecloth. Guess what I did not have. Off to the grocery store I ran, luckily my mom lives close to it. Grabbed cheesecloth and was back in twenty minutes, thought ok, now we can get down to business. Had my father break the cinnamon sticks in half, since neither my mother nor I could do it. My left hand is in a brace and her right hand is in one, she has a bone chip floating around near her thumb, but we figured between us we had one good set of hands so we should be alright. While I was measuring out the apple cider, momma was putting the spices in a little bowl. The recipe calls for 6 one inch pieces of cinnamon sticks, 8 whole cloves and 8 whole allspice. All of a sudden momma turned to me and asked "How do I measure out 8 of this?" I looked and I had inadvertently picked up ground cloves instead of my whole allspice. Turned the burners down on the stove, told momma "Be right back" and off I ran to my house to get the allspice. I turned my spice cabinet upside down, but could not find any, so another trip to the grocery store. Grabbed the allspice, through the checkout and back to momma's I went. She measured out the spices, handed them to me and I dumped them in pot of apple cider. When she handed them to me, I said. "Are you sure you put the allspice in here?" "Yes," she said. "Oh," I said, "I guess I just can't tell the difference" and I dumped them in the pot. Meanwhile my mother picked up the spice bottle and said "Uh oh." I looked and I had bought another jar of whole cloves instead of allspice at the grocery store. We looked at each other and burst out laughing. By this time it was two hours after we initially tried to start, I looked at momma and said "Maybe we ought to try this one day next week." So we cleaned everything up, scooped out the spices, poured the cider back in the jug and checked the calendar. Hopefully Monday or Tuesday we will try again and get it to work out. This is my lesson on how not to make jelly. Normally, I am better prepared and I double and triple check that I have everything. Don't know where my brain was that this time I did not, but you can bet I will before we try again.
After I left momma's I headed back to the grocery store (by this time I figure they think I am either casing the joint, or peddling spices) since Farmer Joe had called and said we were going over to a friends tonight to help make sausage. I got what he asked for, I hope. Please cross your fingers that tonight's endeavor turns out better than the jelly making. I will post recipes and pictures for both later, that is if we can actually get them accomplished.