Phil Robertson's Mayhaw Jelly Making

Phil Robertson's Mayhaw Jelly Making

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Jarred Mayhaw jelly has become a form of currency for us folks down here on the Ouachita River. It's that valuable. The process is time consuming and starts out by picking berries in the hot Louisiana sun, down on the ground and reaching up into the trees. That's what berry picking looks like all across the US, and I think most everyone can get their hands on some kind of berry. From the local farmer's market, an orchard, or in the wild, berries are available everywhere. There may not be mayhaw berries in your area, but find the berries that are and adjust the sugar/berry ratio accordingly.

Get my dad's complete recipe!

From what I've been told, the Robertsons have been jelly makers all the way back to their days in Scotland. The tradition was brought over to the US and continues today. As of this last mayhaw season, my dad's jelly recipe has been passed down to his grandson, Grant, who is my oldest child. Grant, his wife Julie, our new grandbaby Teddy (aren't grandkids the greatest?!),along with Tony and I joined in the action with dad to make some 2022 jelly. We started that morning, and by early afternoon were putting it on Miss Kay's Melt in Your Mouth biscuits!

I'd like to share our family's tradition with you. Time with family, great food, bragging rights, and the oh-so-coveted jars of jelly make it all fun and create sweet memories.

After picking up the fallen berries already on the ground, using a tarp is helpful as you shake the entire tree to let the ripe berries fall. Then you can funnel the berries from the tarp into your collection containers.
Remove all debris from the berries, sort and wash them thoroughly. 
Place them in a boiler.
Turn on your oven, and place clean jars right-side-up on a cookie sheet to disinfect them. We like to clean the jars in the dishwasher and use heated dry before we place them in the oven.
Place your clean lids and seals (maybe 6 sets at a time) into a small pot on low heat to disinfect. You want the water hot, but not boiling.
Add purified water to just about an inch below the level of the berries. If you add too much water, it dilutes the juice and therefore the flavor of the final product. On high heat, bring the berries to a boil.
This is a great time to have some iced tea! The kitchen may be warming up a little and you've probably worked up a thirst. 
Boil the berries until you see foam. Turn the fire down a little.
Start mashing the berries to squeeze the juice out into the water, rolling and bringing to the surface. Dad uses a large spatula so he can pull the berries against the side of the boiler to mash them. Do this for 10 minutes. The water should begin to turn pink.