Jelly Anyone?

For this MIT, Kitchen Chemistry project, we were learning about jelly, jam and other science, related to making it. Here are some things we learned:

  1. The difference between jam and jelly:  Jelly is made with pureed fruit and jam is made with the fruit juices. When mixed with sugar, the pectin inside the fruit creates a gel like substance otherwise known as jelly.
  2. In the old days, canning is and was a way of getting our fresh food by preserving it in jars for when we needed it most!
  3. Acids neutralize the negatively charged pectin particles, then the sugar bonds with the water, bringing the molecules closer together so they can bind into the texture we know as Jelly. That is the “High Methoxl” menthod and it uses boatloads of sugar. With the ‘Low Methoxl’ process, calcium bonds with the pectin particles to achieve the same outcome, minus the sugar.
  4. Pectin actually comes from the cell walls of plants!
  5. The reason why we boil the jars before canning anything in is because it’s a form of sanitizing, so it kills any of the bugs or germs that were in the jar in addition to ensuring a good seal!
  6. If the lid didn’t seal (pop!) it means that there is still oxygen in the jar which also means it could potentially create a bacteria culture, which is NOT great :^(  (Ever heard of botchullism?!)
  7. Jam and jelly don’t contain any fat! BOOM!!!!
  8. The largest recorded pbj was… [get ready…] 40 ft long, contained 50lbs of jelly and 150 pounds of peanut butter!!! wow… but disgusting. Hopefully the makers of said sandwhich found a lot of people to eat it all!!
  9. Tastes amazing with greek yogurt also more helthy than normal fruit flavored yogurt found in the mystical, magical supermarket!

Our jelly was made from organic berries we picked and froze this summer. Blueberries and Strawberries with a fair helping of organic lemon zest and juice. When it was done processing, we waited to hear the tell-tale ‘pop!’ and knew then that our jars were sealed TIGHT! Not sure how long it will last – it sure tastes AMAZING!!

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