In the making of jelly, as in the preparation of many other foods, numerous utensils will be found convenient and may, if desired, be supplied to make the work easier. However, the necessary ones are comparatively few in number and, for the most part, are found in almost every kitchen. In the illustration are shown assembled practically all the equipment used in the making of jelly, and if a housewife is provided with these things or substitutes for them, she will be well equipped for her work.
As will be observed, two kettles are required in jelly making. The larger one is used for cooking the fruit, and the smaller one, to cook the juice and the sugar. These should have a perfectly smooth surface, and may be made of almost any material used for such utensils, except tin or iron. These two metals are undesirable, as they are liable to lend to the jelly a disagreeable flavor and in all probability an unattractive color. The one used to cook the fruit should generally be a little larger than the other. As about 6 glassfuls of jelly may be cooked at one time, the kettle in which the juice is boiled should be of adequate size to cook this amount without danger of its boiling over. When fruit juice and sugar are boiled together, the mixture often boils up and runs over if the vessel is not large enough.
The jelly bag, which is used for straining the boiled fruit and thus obtaining the juice, may be a home-made one or, as shown in the illustration, one that is purchased for the purpose. If the bag is made at home, a heavy, closely woven material, such as flannel, should be selected, so as to prevent the tiny particles of fruit from passing through with the juice. A liquid strained in this manner will be much clearer and will make better looking jelly than that which has been run through a coarse material, such as cheesecloth. The juice can be strained very conveniently if the bag is attached to a wire arrangement, like the one shown, or to an upright standard that can be fastened to a chair or a table, for then the bag is held securely over the vessel into which the juice drips. Sometimes, especially when more than one extraction of the juice is to be made, the first extraction is made by means of a strainer or a colander and the juice thus obtained is then strained through the bag.
As accurate measurements are absolutely essential in jelly making, a measuring cup should be included in the equipment. Then, too, a quart measure will be found very convenient, especially if large quantities of materials are to be cooked at one time. A large spoon or two for stirring, skimming, and testing should also be provided. The spoon used for skimming will produce better results if the bowl contains holes that will permit the juice to drop back into the vessel, for then none of the juice will be wasted.
Various types of receptacles in which to keep jelly are in use, some turning out more attractive molds than others. The shape of the mold, however, is a matter of minor importance. Almost any wide-mouthed glass receptacle with comparatively smooth sides will do very well, since the sealing of jelly is not a difficult thing to do. Therefore, new receptacles should not be purchased if there is a supply of any suitable kind on hand, for many other containers besides purchased jelly glasses may be used for this purpose. The most convenient type, which may be bought in any store selling kitchen utensils, is that shown in the illustration above. As will be observed, these are somewhat broad and not very tall. A mold of jelly turned from a tall, narrow glass does not stand up so well as that turned from a flat, wide one. Then, too, a tall glass is much more likely to tip and spill than a more shallow one.
Metal covers that fit the tops of the glasses, like the ones shown, are the most convenient kind that can be used, but they are not an absolute necessity. In their place may be used paper caps that fit the glasses, or the tops of the glasses may be covered with paper and then tied. Before a cover of any kind is put on a glass, paraffin, several cakes of which are arranged on a plate in the illustration, is melted and poured in a thin layer over the top of the jelly itself.
To designate the kind of jelly, it is advisable to label the glasses with neat labels, a box of which is included in the equipment here shown.
Paraffin-covered paper cups have been recommended to take the place of jelly glasses, and while they do very well in the case of scarcity of containers they have some disadvantages. In the first place, they can be used only once, as it is impossible to wash them. In addition, it will be necessary to wait until the jelly is partly cold before pouring it into such cups, as hot jelly will melt the paraffin on the surface of the paper.