While making a batch of jelly I started to remember jellies of yesterdays. All year long we cleaned and saved every jar with a screw- on lid. Our jelly was alway put into what ever jars we had in the basement. There were peanut butter jars and an assortment of some wonderful jars which I still have on my shelves to day. Momma had some jars which looked like glass barrels, I have these jars and of course, they get filled with pickles here each year.
The jelly would be made with what fruit we had at the time. Momma would only can only thing a day and on the days there were no vegetables to be canned she would make jelly. One of my favorites was the strawberry/ cherry jelly. It was a kind of jelly, cherries were pitted and mixed with the strawberry juice. You may call this a preserves as there was cherry pulp in the mix. I waited for this one, every year, and would start eating as soon as it was finished cooking. Someone needed to taste it to see if the others should have any and MY vote was no this is all for me.
After the jelly was made it was carried to the basement and stored until we needed it. Now lets get this straight, I am not a spring chicken any more so my memories go way back. When I was small Momma would bring up a jar of jelly and start scooping out the green stuff, what is that, why are you doing that, it's okay for the hogs to eat but we can't and we eat the hogs later? I was very confused about what was going on. Today, I know the answers they would not share with me. There was mold on the jelly, the moldy jelly would be removed from the jar and we would eat what was left in the jar. Then someone came along and told Momma if she put wax on top of the jelly it would keep.
Momma made jelly, we melted wax and poured on top of the jelly, put the lid on and now we would have jelly without mold. Winter came, Momma bought a jar of jelly from the basement opened it and the wax ring was below the neck of the jar, it would not come out easy. She finally cut the wax into pieces and took it out of the jar only to find mold under the wax. but she would not give up. The next year she cut string, laid it on top of the jelly which was put in the jars up to the neck and poured in the wax. After the wax hardened we put the ends of the string in the jars on top of the wax and put the lids on. Winter came again, we would open the jars, pick up the string and pull the wax cover off the jelly only to find mold under it. I wish to add by now there were jelly jars being produced which were not screw on lids, they needed the wax, also. By the time I started canning there were the cute little 1/2 pint jars with the screw threads on them.
I am so pleased we have come to the place where we are today. I know there are a number of you who love the old recipes and that is wonderful. Always use the current method for sealing your jars. When we open one of our jars of strawberry/raspberry jelly we will not be scooping out the mold for I use the 2 part lids, process in a hot water bath, wait for 12 to 24 hours and check for safe seals on my jars. I label my jars also, you would not believe how many jars of mystery jelly we scooped the mold off, only to taste and say, this is not the jelly I wanted.
This is one area change is good, I for one am very THANKFUL we have made such good progress when it comes to saving the wonderful flavors of summer in our jelly jars!!!