One of the things that I found that is important to be the best at something is to take a little risk and experiment to find answers to question you may not know. I was asked by Miranda on Facebook whether you could create jelly from a juice cocktail. Other online people told her that because of the sugar content and that because it wasn't 100% juice that it wouldn't work. Miranda came to my page for answers and since I did some research and couldn't find a reliable source for the answer I did the experiment myself.
On the way home from work tonight I stopped by the grocery store and purchased a juice cocktail in a flavor that I thought looked interesting since if the experiment didn't work I was either going to drink the rest of the bottle or have jars of syrup in my pantry for pancakes or ice cream. I choose the Cranberry Pomegranate that of course was on sale.
My process was to do the recipe using 4 cups of the juice and once at a boil add the pectin. I looked at the ingredients realizing that the first two were water and sugar and the next three were cranberry, pomegranate, and apple juice concentrate. It appeared to be like many of the recipes that are "jelly" based so I was even more sure that on the ingredients alone that it would gel.
I put a small dutch oven on the stove and poured in the juice and got the heat under it. Meanwhile I started my water in the bath canner and set out my jars, lids, and rings. I had also decided for this experiment that I was going to need to do a gel test since it would take overnight for the jelly to set and I wanted to prove one way or the other that juice cocktail would work tonight.
As the juice got up to temperature I took my tasting spoon and tasted the hot liquid to see whether the juice alone was sweet enough for a jelly. As everyone knows that has tried a cranberry juice cocktail the taste is rather tart. With the additional flavor of the pomegranate it was more so. I decided to add a 1/2 cup of sugar to reduce the tartness and bring it to a boil to see once the sugar had dissolved whether it helped. It did but it was still lacking something. That something was heat. In went a tablespoon of super minced jalapenos and for a moment I forgot what this was all about. I was creating again.
I got focused as I sterilized my jars and brought the recipe to a boil in preparation of adding the pectin. As I watched the recipe bubble I poured in the pectin and then returned it to a boil, setting my timer for one minute. Jars ready with lids in the hot water, ladle set out and funnel in the first jar, the timer sounded and I turned off the recipe.
I withdrew my plate from the freezer to try my gel stage and see for certain whether the answer was yes. Here is the result. It was a success and the jelly in the plate made a wrinkle. I ladled my recipe into 4 half pint jars and processed them in the water bath at a full boil for 10 minutes.
I am really glad that I did this experiment. It feels good to give Miranda an answer that I can be confident in and that she can do a juice cocktail jelly as well.