April showers bring Mayhaws (May what?!? You thought I was gonna say Mayflowers didn’t you???) And while we have certainly had plenty of April showers, we hope to have plenty of May flowers in our fields, but that’s a later post. This post is all about the jelly! (calorie-counters and carb-haters move along, this post isn’t for you…)
Making homemade Mayhaw jelly with my mom and grandmother are some of my favorite childhood memories and the fact that that jelly also tastes like heaven on earth just increases the warm and fuzzies. And now I’m passing those warm and fuzzies on to you!
Now some of you may be asking yourself “What is a mayhaw?” If you haven’t lived along the northern edges of the Gulf of Mexico or visited and been lucky enough to have homemade mayhaw jelly, then you may not understand the joy of this jelly. But if you have been lucky enough to have had mayhaw jelly, then you know that it is some of the best jelly that has ever touched your lips. The mayhaw is the tangy, bright red fruit of a thorny hawthorn tree. It’s a native tree and grows wild in the boggy, swampy areas from east Texas to west Florida and some places as far north as Kentucky. By mid-April, early May the berries turn bright red and simply fall from the tree.
If you don’t plan on making mayhaw jelly (or wine, whatever your vice) after picking the fruit, be sure to wash and freeze the berries or immediately juice them and freeze the juice. It only takes a couple of days for the fruit to start to mold. Once you are ready to prepare some of this sweet, sticky goodness, here is our recipe…
- 8 cups of strained/filtered mayhaw juice – (This will yield about 8 pints. If you want a more firm jelly, reduce the juice by 1/4 cup, more syrupy add a 1/4 cup)
- 11 cups of sugar
- 1/2 tsp of butter (to help reduce foaming)
- Three 1.75oz packages of Sure-Jell pectin
- 8-10 clean canning jars.
- Lids and rings to fit jars.
- In a large roasting pan add about an inch of hot water and set clean jars into water. This brings the jars up to temp to keep them from breaking from shock when the hot liquid touches the glass. Place by pot where jelly is being prepared.
- Bring juice, Sure-Jell, and butter to a roiling boil in a large stock pot.
- Once roiling boil has been reached, add sugar and bring back to a roiling boil, constantly stirring.
- Let it boil for 1 minute then remove from heat. Immediately skim any foam and ladle into clean jars that are in the heat bath. A canning funnel makes this much easier.
- Wipe the rims of the jars with a wet cloth to remove any residue so that the lid will form a airtight seal. Place lid on jar an tighten down with a ring.
- Let sit for 12-24 hours to allow firming. You should be hearing some of the lids pop, meaning a seal has been achieved.
I would LOVE to see what you’ve cooked up OR, if making your own mayhaw jelly isn’t possible, order or pick up a jar next time you make it down south (as if you needed another to come visit) and let me know what you think! Leave a comment or better yet a photo!