One of my favorite gifts to give for Valentine's Day is red hot jelly; this gift is actually pretty fitting for Christmas so if you just make a bunch then, you'll have plenty for this holiday too!
The flavor of the jelly is not hot like you may imagine, but very sweet. If you think of the flavor of the red hot candies, just the coating on the outside before you get into the sharp center, that is pretty similar to the flavor of the jelly.
If you've never made jelly before, don't feel intimidated! I've made jelly and jam many times, usually with my husband around to help screw on the caps, but this is the first time I've done it by myself-with two little ones running around...so it's not as bad as it may seem!
First you'll want to wash all of your jars. Wash them in very hot water and dry them well-air dry! You're wanting everything to be sterilized and clean as to not contaminate your batch of jelly. I just wash mine and then lay them down on a towel on the counter to dry.
For the lids, place the lid inside of the ring and put them around the bottom of a pan. If you make another layer, that's fine, just have them sit on top of one another-you don't want the lids touching, just the rings. If the seals touch each other they won't seal on the jar correctly.
Pour water over the lids carefully, as to not disturb the settings. Bring this to a boil and then turn off the heat. (Make sure you time this though as you want them to be hot when you screw them on your jelly)
4 c. granulated sugar
2 c. apple juice
1/3 c. red hot candies
1/2 tsp. butter
1 package of liquid pectin
For the jelly, you're going to pour in your sugar, then the apple juice. Stir this together.
Then add your butter and red hot candies. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Stir constantly!
Once the mixture reaches a rolling boil, add 1 packet of liquid pectin. (I prefer to use liquid pectin for jelly, and powdered for jams) After you add the pectin, continue to cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
Remove the jelly from the heat and use a large metal spoon to scrape off whatever foam may have formed-but work quickly! You want this jelly to be piping hot when you pour it into the jars to seal it.
Using a ladle, carefully pour the jelly into the jars. Wipe the rim of the jar clean. Use tongs to remove the lid from the other pan of water. Just shake off the water well before screwing it onto the jelly jar. (If you hold the lid just right with the tongs, you should be able to keep it inside the ring just fine)
Screw it on tight and then move the the next jar, just work one at a time
That's it! Wasn't so bad...was it? If you have any left over, pour it into a cup and you can dig into this right away.