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-   -   Mesquite Bean Jelly version 2 (http://discussions.texasbowhunter.com/forums/showthread.php?t=660329)

Dusty Britches 09-05-2017 02:00 PM

Mesquite Bean Jelly version 2
4 Attachment(s)
Now that I've gain some confidence and learned a bunch about mesquite bean jelly making, I thought I'd try to take pictures and do a step by step.

First, of course, pick mesquite beans. Did you know Texas is home to 7 different types of mesquite trees but Brazil has more mesquite trees than anyone else? The most common type in Texas is the Honey Mesquite, but we also are home to Velvet Mesquite, which I have a lot of. Velvet mesquite beans are covered in tiny flowers as the pods develop, then the flowers fall away and poof! you will see a green pod. I know, weird. I prefer the velvet mesquite pods because they are not as sweet and have a very unique non-smokey mesquite flavor. The honey mesquite is very sweet.

Regardless of the type of mesquite you have, pick the pods from the trees when they will easily pull away. Don't fight the mesquite tree for its pods. Those pods are not worth it. You can also pick them up from the ground, but you should inspect each one closely for holes from bugs and ants and for a white fungus/ mold. That's why from the tree is better. You could shake each pod to see if it rattles, but I think the dried pods make for a different and not as easily setting jelly. More on that later.

Most mesquite jelly makers online will tell you to measure out the pods and use x amount of water, but I ain't got time for that. After washing the pods off, break them up in half or thirds. I put mine in a crawfish boiler with the strainer. I filled the strainer by 3/4 and then put water up to the fill mark on the pot. You could to cover the pods by at least 3x. I think. The pods float, so it was hard to tell.

Once the water boils, set the timer for 30-35 minutes and keep her boiling, but keep it at as low of a boil as you can get. When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and let the water cool with the pods.

Once it is cool, you can pull the pods out with the strainer or if you have a small batch you can just pour them into a strainer with a pot/ bowl underneath it. You will also have to pour through several layers of food grade gauze/ cloth to get the tiny stuff out.

For the pictures, I actually picked just a few to try something different, but I put a few handfuls in the pot in the kitchen, covered the pods with water and boiled it. This is when I learned that you should put 3X as much water. (These pods in this picture to start were actually a very dark red and each pod rattled when I shook it. The more fresh pods don't do that. The dark red pods make a darker jelly, so please don't judge your jelly's color by my color.) Since I didn't have any juice left over, I filled the pot again and boiled for 30 minutes - again.

These pictures are actually from 2 different batches. I forgot to take pictures a few times. This first pic is the beans. See how dark they are? Unusual. The second pic is not enough water. The 3rd pic is after I boiled it again and let it cool. See how dark the juice is? Normally, it is light blonde color. The color is from the dark pods. You can see the different colors in the 4th pic. The 4th pic I measured out my liquid and didn't have enough for 4 cups, but fortunately I had a partial bag from before that I added to make it 4 cups.

So at this point, you could just measure and pour 4 cups of juice into quart sized freezer bags and freeze. That's what I normally do. Then just thaw one bag at a time when you want to make jelly. My next post will talk about the actual jelly making.

Dusty Britches 09-05-2017 02:17 PM

3 Attachment(s)
So now I'm going to make the jelly.

Take 4 cups of juice, add 3 cups of sugar, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and one package of Sure Jell original. (You can make low sugar with 2 cups of sugar and Sure Jell low or no sugar.) Stir it all up.

If you have ph test strips make sure the ph is <4.6. If it isn't, add lemon juice. If you don't have the test strips, no worries, just roll with this. Bring to a boil. Set the timer for 30 minutes.

If you've ever made jelly, you know this is slightly different. If you have a high temp thermometer, you should get it out. After 20+ minutes, stir the foam down. hahaha. That was a joke. You won't be able to - add 1T butter and then stir the foam down. The pictures show the foam and jelling stuff and how the butter dissipates it. At 30 minutes, read the temp. You want it at 220. 219, 218 also work. 215? maybe, but probably ought to put a cockeyed lid on the pot and watch it closely. Do NOT let it boil over! It will be a nasty mess!

Your canning jars should be ready to use now (as in hot and clean). I generally pour the hot mix into a 4 cup glass Pyrex measurer then pour it into the jars. Fill the jars to about 1/4" below rim. Wipe the top of the jars clean. Put the lids and rings on finger tight. Transfer carefully to the canning pot, lower, and boil for 10 - 12 minutes for half pint jars. Longer for full pints. Pull out and let set up in a cool dark place. The jelly may take 2 full weeks to set up.

Makes 9 x 4 oz jars or 4.5 half pint jars.

In the pictures, you can see the boil. The second picture shows the jelling foam that has developed. You can try to stir it down throughout the process, but it just comes back. The 3rd pic shows how the butter dissipates the foam. Btw - it isn't boiling the way I want, so after I added the butter, I turned up the heat.

When it is done, I don't have time to take pictures, but the instructions are pretty clear.

Dusty Britches 09-05-2017 02:20 PM

The ones with the dark red pods took 12 days to set up. The rest set up in just 24 hours.

I think the older, dry pods have less acid to them and that's why they took longer to set up. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

You can also add diced jalapenos - about 1 cup or more per batch. As it sets up, turn the jars to mix the peppers in.

Coachs Wife 09-05-2017 03:11 PM

I just finished up making prickly pear jelly. There were lots of mesquite beans, too, but we had no idea what we could do with them. Let us know how this all turns out and if it's worth the effort. The spines still lodged in my hands a month later have me questioning my sanity over the prickly pear. I'm hoping that once I make the margaritas with the syrup I made it'll make it all worth while... ;)

Dusty Britches 09-05-2017 03:28 PM

You know, before you pick the pears, you should run a pear burner over it to singe off the needles.

Other things you can do with mesquite beans - coffee, flour, and "oatmeal". I love mesquite bean jelly. And any leftover syrup can be used in baked beans. And maybe margaritas. ;)

Coachs Wife 09-05-2017 04:45 PM


Originally Posted by Dusty Britches (Post 12707407)
You know, before you pick the pears, you should run a pear burner over it to singe off the needles.

Other things you can do with mesquite beans - coffee, flour, and "oatmeal". I love mesquite bean jelly. And any leftover syrup can be used in baked beans. And maybe margaritas. ;)

I didn't decide to pick the prickly pears until we were already at the deer lease, over 30 minutes from Ozona, but a pear burner is already on my list of MANDATORY tools! But it was a first time experience and now I know! I tried to burn the spines off with a torch in my kitchen but that was NOT effective. It's definitely a tip I'll pass on to my readers when I write my jelly post in a few weeks.

Lonestar_HOYT 09-05-2017 10:08 PM

I'm dying to make this jelly, hope to very soon. I will be at the ranch this next week to get the beans. Thanks for the tutorial:)

Dusty Britches 09-12-2017 08:37 AM


CamoQuest 09-13-2017 09:49 AM

This jelly is absolutely worth every bit of effort. Who knew mesquite beans could make something so delicious!

Neuse 09-14-2017 07:07 AM

Really cool.
I have to go find some beans.

twostepct 09-14-2017 07:40 AM

I made this recipe and it is delicious. I saved most of the juice and froze it, I'll do small jars for Christmas gifts.

Mexico 09-14-2017 08:00 AM

Very cool never knew this was possible!

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