Family Treasures,  Sage Advice From Nanny,  Sweet Tooth

Jelly legs…

One of the things my Nanny was really good at was making jelly. She grew up on a farm in Oklahoma so gardening- and by default- canning became second nature at a young age. One of the best memories I have of her canning abilities came in the form of  muscadine jelly. When we would visit, she’d make scrambled eggs, biscuits and bacon and offer up a jar of this yummy sweet/tart jelly to slather onto her angel biscuits, which I did as often as I could. Occasionally she’d give a jar away at Christmas as a stocking stuffer and I always hoarded mine until I couldn’t hold out any longer before I’d break into it and make up a batch of  biscuits myself -and enjoy every bite.

Now you may remember I mentioned that when we cleaned her freezer out, there were various items- some identifiable and some not so much. One thing I did find was a whole bunch of quart bags of muscadines, which I quickly claimed with the intent of replicating her jelly recipe.

You may wonder what a muscadine is exactly… well. hmmmm. How to explain it? It’s kind of like a grape in size and shape- more tart but also sweeter if that is possible too.DSC_9034

They can be dark purple to green even when ripe. The skins are tough so if you manage to eat one raw then you kind of have to break through the skin and squish out the insides. But there’s also tiny seeds like grapes, so you have to be careful and not eat those. Spitting works pretty well- kind of like watermelon seeds- just spit ’em out like a proper raised Southerner. I’d say most are not eaten raw, though. They’re mostly used to make jelly, wine,  fruit pies and such. I’ve actually had muscadine wine and if you like a blush sweet wine, then you might like it.

I’ve had more than my fair share of really rough- I miss her so much it physically hurts- kind of days lately. I find myself wanting to remember everything I possibly can and “they” say smells, tastes, and sounds can bring out powerful memories.

So. I bought cute little canning jars, sure-jell and I have muscadines in my freezer and plenty of sugar. Let’s get this jelly making party started…not gonna lie… I’m more than a little apprehensive at the prospect of this process- jelly legs you might say. But I’m going to try and hope that somehow this sweet woman will guide my hands and help me figure out what exactly she did and that it turns out yummy.

Wish me luck! Pictures and recipe to follow! I plan to make her angel biscuits too. The recipe I have for those is handwritten and I will include that when I post pictures of the jelly making process- or more accurately the jelly eating process!