Jams and Jellies
Probably the most difficult part of making jelly is balancing correctly the amounts of pectin*, sugar, and fruit. Few fruits contain enough pectin naturally to make jelly, so if you do not want to add commercial pectin (which is far easier and will probably produce a better jelly or jam), it is best to test your fruit. Mix 1 tbsp. of fruit juice with 1 tbsp. of denatured alcohol or grain. If the mixture all clumps together, then you have plenty of pectin. In this case, use about 1 cup of sugar for every cup of juice. If you decide to simply use commercial pectin, just follow the instructions that come with it.

To prepare the jelly, use the method of extracting fruit juice described in the cold drinks section. For jam, do not strain out all of the fruit bodies. Once you have balanced the amounts of pectin and sugar, bring the whole mixture to a boil in a stainless steel, enamel, or glass pot. Once it is 8 degrees Farenheit above boiling (actual temperature depends on altitude), the jelly is ready to set. Pour it into sterilized jars and seal with parafin wax.

Plants in this guide that have fruits that can be made into jams or jellies

Berberidaceae - The Barberry Family

Berries have plenty of pectin* and a good flavor (when sweetened).

Japanese Barberry
Caprifoliaceae - The Viburnum Family
Maple Leaf Viburnum

Mixed with a more sour (and higher in pectin*) fruit, these berries make fine jellies and jams.

Ericaceae - The Heath Family

Blueberries make a very sweet jam or jelly, although pectin* will have to be added.

Sweet Low Barberry
Rosaceae - The Rose Family
American Crabapple

Because of their tart flavor but very high pectin* content, crabapples make a good jam or jelly when mixed with any other fruit that is lower in pectin.

Black Cherry

Excellent flavor but low pectin* content. Mix with another fruit or add commercial pectin.

Domestic Apple

Usually a good enough source of pectin* to make jam or jelly without adding commercial pectin. Can be mixed with other fruit that have less pectin, such as rose hips.


Fruit are especially juicy and yield a fine jam.


Rose hips* and sliced sour apples can be mixed at a 3 part to 1 part ratio and made into jam. Additionally, petals can be made into jelly.

Vitaceae - The Grape Family
Wild Grape

Fruit contain plenty of pectin for jelly or jam.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.