I started making jams and jellies a couple of years ago, but just a few and sporadically. I began experimenting in earnest last fall. My modus operandi for recipes is to find one that’s really good, then try and plug every other thing I can think of into it and see what happens. I have a super great recipe for Apricot/Habanero Jelly. So far I have extrapolated that recipe into Plum/Jalapeño, Blueberry/Serrano and most recently, with great flavor success, Cranberry/Habanero. I have also done this with an Orange Marmalade recipe, and have produced Lemon Marmalade, Lime Marmalades and Grapefruit Marmalade, all magnificent.
During the winter, when I was happily experimenting with different fruits and hot peppers, my jelly would come out great, just the right firmness every time. As the weather began to warm, though, I started having trouble with setting up. At first, I didn’t test it for doneness, because I had grown confident that all my jellies were perfection, so who needed to test? Well, the first one that didn’t set I had to un-jar, reheat, add pectin and re-can. After that debacle, I started testing for set-up. But, as the weather continued to warmed and the humidity rose, even adding pectin and testing didn’t ensure a set jelly. My last batch of the warm season, the Cranberry/Habanero took 4X the normal amount of pectin and it’s STILL too loose. So, I’ve given up for now, and will resume this aspect of my journey when the chill returns to the air and the firm returns to my jam.