Tips for Making Preserves with Honeybells
Honeybells are a wonderful fruit to use to make preserves. Because they have so much naturally sweet juice, which can act as a preservative, you rarely have to add more to Honeybells than pectin to make a delicious marmalade or jam. Sometimes you don’t even need to do that because the natural pectin in the peel of the Honeybell, just like the pectin in the peels of oranges or grapefruits, is often enough to make the preserves. Making preserves, whether it’s a marmalade, jelly or jam, is usually pretty easy. However you may find that a particular bath comes out runny, or doesn’t turn out at all, even though you have followed the same recipe that you always use. Often that’s because of the natural variations that occur in the fruit, but sometimes there are other causes. Here are some expert canner’s tips for making Honeybell preserves this year:
Keep an eye on the kitchen temperature – If your kitchen is too hot, or has too much humidity, the preserves may not set up properly. It’s best to keep your kitchen on the chilly side when you’re making orange or Honeybell preserves. You can always open a window or door if you want to leave the heat on in the rest of the house. If the kitchen is too humid run a dehumidifier during the hours that you’re going to making preserves.
Always use the plate test – One of the trickiest parts of making Honeybell preserves for people who haven’t done it before is checking whether or not the mixture of Honeybells, juice and sugar is ready to go in the jar. It’s very easy to misread the consistency of the preserves and put up jam or jelly that isn’t done all the way, which will ruin the batch. So to test and see if the mixture is ready to put up into jars you should use the plate test. When you first start boiling the ingredients together place a small plate in the freezer to chill. When you think the mixture is done take the plate from the freezer and pour a small amount of the mixture on it. Return it to the freezer for two minutes and then check it. If the mixture has turned into a gel on the plate then it’s ready to be put into jars.
Use the hot water bath method of jarring – Even though there are ways of canning Honeybells that are less time intensive than the traditional hot water bath method this method is always recommended for beginners. Using this method to seal your jars of Honeybell preserves is the only reliable way to be sure the jars are sealed properly.