Archive for November 2nd, 2007

Damn pectin heads…

So, in my many new adventures in life, I have (tried) to take up canning. Afterall, it seems such a natural extension of gardening. Anyhow, this summer, I made 12 quarts of fig soup. It was supposed to be fig jam, but it didn’t set. Oh well, it makes a great sauce for poundcake and icecream.

Last night, I made 5 quarts of hot pepper soup. Now see, that’s a problem, because hot pepper sauce doesn’t really go well with either poundcake or ice cream. And besides, I followed the directions as written. It should have set! I didn’t mess with the proportions or the timings!

All the recipes say, “add one botle of Certo liquid pectin”, both the old recipes passed down from my great-grandmother and the new tested recipes from the Georgia Agricultural extention.

Here’s the catch: Certo doesn’t come in bottles anymore. It comes in packets, like the gooey cheese sauce in the boxed mac and cheese. Two packages to a box. I like to think I’m a reasonable person, and so I like to assume that others are two, especially the good folks at the Kraft Food corporation. Therefore, I assumed that one package was the equal of one bottle.

Wrong. In my frustration today, I called the Kraft Food customer service line and said, “Look, none of my jelly sets, and I’m following the directions. Yes, I’m following the directions exactly. Yes, timing and ingredients. Look, I’m a freakin’ instructional technologist and doctoral candidate, I know how to read AND follow directions, so what gives with the pectin?” [Okay, maybe I just wanted to say that last bit out loud, but I’m sure it was expressed adequately in the tone of my voice.]

Guess what: two packages of pectin is the equivalent of the formerly mentioned defunct bottle. So, essentially, I’ve only been adding half the necessary pectin to make it gel.

No, it’s not mentioned on the box anywhere. It’s not mentioned on their website. It’s not mentioned anywhere! How many jars of delicious jelly were senselessly ruined by the lack of such important information???

Okay, maybe that’s a pretty mundane topic for a blog posting, but hey, YOU spend three hours one evening cutting peppers and sterilizing jars, only to find out you’ve been doing it wrong despite your best attempts to do it right, and then spend two hours the following night remaking the jelly, and you’ll find it’s heavy on your mind, too.

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