Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jelly. A high school memory.

I took all sorts of classes in high school.  I was pretty gender neutral in choices, I took auto shop, (and ticked off several of the guys by knowing a lot of the stuff already.  Aced the class, too.  Not bragging, my Dad wasn't about to let me be cowed into a repair because I didn't know what x component of a car was. But I needed elective credits.)

So, I took Home Ec.  They had cut back a bit on it, and it basically was cooking.  I took the class in the late winter.  This doesn't sound like a big deal, and it wasn't, for most of the class. Until we came to making jelly.  For what ever reason, we didn't have anything to make jelly with (i.e. fruit).  The teacher was very resourceful, and we had something else for that class, and made fairly decent jelly.


Grape Kool-Aid, to be specific.  I still remember the poor kid that was my partner, he kept looking at the purple concoction, and kept repeating this mantra to himself,

"It's supposed to look that way, it's SUPPOSED to look that way, it's supposed to look that way..." 

I truly don't know if he didn't know how to make jelly, (quite possible, he didn't have a clue how to cook when he started), or if he just wasn't confident when he made the stuff.  But we did make the stuff gel, and did the whole nine yards, putting it up with wax, and it was pretty good, the bit we had in class.  (I, however, do not like sweet and savory, and the salty saltines were just a bit on the icky side, for something like that...)

I wanted to give the jar (that I might add, came out looking very pretty), to my grandparents.  They ate jelly on toast quite often, and so I thought they might enjoy it.  I don't know if we forgot to tell them, or what, but a later phone call (they lived in a different state), Grandpa got on the phone, one of the few times he did. 

"Granddaughter, you sent up some jelly."

"Yes, did you like it?"

"Did you make it?  What grapes did you use?"

I told him that indeed I did make it, and that I don't really think that it had any identifiable grape in it, except on the label...  He then replied that it was very nice jelly, but maybe I could make some blackberry jam next time. 

Please note.  I have a feeling that I could have sent a jar of jelled mud and Grandpa would have said it was good, since I made it.  But I also know that my Grandpa loved real fruit jelly and jam, and somehow, even through Ma Bell, I got the sneaking suspicion that perhaps it would not have been his first pick at the restaurant of his choice.   

But after that I made jellies and jams and such with Mom, and later on occasion by myself, and he and Grandma enjoyed those, too. 

Without the proviso of asking if I had made it, which made me feel much more confident they actually liked it...

(And since we have we "blessed" with more blackberry bushes than I know how to stay out of, I think I might be making some jelly this year.  Husband likes jelly, not jam, so I have to dig out my stuff to make that. But, it isn't... Well, you know.)


  1. I love blackberry jelly..but oh I hate to pick them (we're *blessed* with blackberries, too).

  2. I haven't made jelly or jams in a very long time. But my friend has a mayhaw bush that is producing very well and she is going let me have some to make mayhaw jelly which is my Dad's favorite. Looking forward to doing this.

  3. I've never tried to make jelly or jam. I'm a peanut butter on toast kind of gal, so I suppose it would be a waste of time, anyways. But, I would like to try your koolaid grape jelly, just to see what it was like.

  4. Very smart and resourceful teacher you had there. At least it taught you the technique.

    It's certain the jellies and jams you've made since were good.

  5. Jelly from Kool-Aid? WOW! I've never heard of that, but then we didn't make jelly in my cooking class in high school. I'm going to have to research this one..very interesting!


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