Jams Jellies and JellO

Jams Jellies and JellO

What’s the Difference Between Jams Jellies and JellO?

JELL-O – Is one of the most familiar food names around. Prior to the early 1900s, preparation of gelatin was a somewhat time-consuming and difficult task. It is almost never confused or included in the same breath: Jams Jellies and JellO.

When Jell-O first hit the market, it came in strawberry, orange and lemon flavors.

After changing ownership several times, it is now a trademark of Kraft Foods, Inc. Ready-to-use, ready-to-make Jell-O was first advertised to the general public in 1902. There have been Jell-O milestones along the way, from sugar free in 1923 to Jell-O Jigglers in the ‘90s.

Jell-O is the Utah official state snack, in lime flavor. I had always thought that the red flavors were the most popular, but I may be wrong. Utah and the area around the state is called the “Jell-O Belt.”

JAMS & JELLIES – Are best known for their fragrance and rich fruit taste. The making of jams and jellies began centuries ago in the Middle East, as cane sugar grew naturally in that area.

“Jelly” comes from the French word “gelee,” which means to congeal. The Spanish brought the preserved fruits to the West Indies. Seventeenth Century American settlers prepared fruit with honey, molasses and maple sugar. Apple paring were used to thicken the fruit.

The average kid eats the average of 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by high school graduation. On a tablespoon-for-tablespoon basis, jams and jellies have about half the calories of butter or margarine and zero fat.

The easiest way to get them is to go to the store and purchase your jams and jellies. But it is a lot more fun to whip up a batch or two. All the ingredients are easily accessible year-round, including the fruit. Never double up on making batches; only make what the recipe calls for, one batch at a time.

Grape jelly was a favorite in the U.S. Army during World War I — so popular, in fact, that it was produced for commercial use in the States following the war. The most popular are grape jelly and strawberry jam.

Here are some of my quick and easy recipes. May I make a suggestion? The next time you go shopping, get the supplies (don’t forget jars & lids) and on some snow day make a batch.

Grape Jelly

• 3 cups bottled grape juice

• 1 package powdered pectin

• 4 cups sugar

Combine grape juice and pectin in a large saucepot. Bring mixture to a rolling boil. Stir in sugar and return to rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam off if necessary; cheesecloth wrapped around wooden spoon works very well. Pour hot mixture into hot sterilized jars, leave ¼” head space. Adjust lids. Process 15 minutes in boiling hot water bath. Yields about 5 half-pints.

Strawberry Jam

• 2 quarts crushed strawberries

• 6 cups sugar

Clean strawberries. Combine berries and sugar in a large saucepot. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly until thick, about 35 to 40 minutes. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Pour into hot sterilized jars, leaving ¼” head space. Adjust lids. Processing 15 minutes in boiling hot water bath. Yields about 4 pints.

bette banjack author of Jams Jellies and JellOLet me hear from you – banjack303@verizon.net.

Check out Downtown Kitchens at HealthTipsAndAdvice.com or search YouTube for Look Who’s Cooking.

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About the Author:

E. M. (Bette) Banjack is a noted columnist, author, media host, and cook who writes stories of local families, and anecdotes of growing up and living in Phoenixville. Bette wrote a weekly column for ten years in The Phoenix, the local paper serving the Phoenixville area.

Her fourth and latest book, Neighborhood Kitchens – A Collection of Stories & Recipes, has just been released.

The articles and recipes posted on Health Tips and Advice, another Life Balance Network Site, were as a result of interviews of family and friends, and first appeared in her weekly column between 2003 and 2006.

Bette’s newest column series, Recipes ABC-XYZ, is appearing in The Phoenix, and will also be posted on FoodSource.

Bette hosted several TV shows on local broadcast cable TV on cooking with appearances of many hometown guests. Episodes of Bette’s cooking show “Look Who’s Cooking” can be viewed on another Life Balance Network site, FoodsSource, or on YouTube.

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