A jelly bag can be a familiar term to you if you are a person is interested in kitchen stuff. It is an integral part of a kitchen. It has many uses and importance in the kitchen. If you are interested to know what a jelly bag is, this article can add a lot to your knowledge. From the definition to how to make them at home, we would like to cover everything in this article.
What is a Jelly Bag?
A jelly bag is a kitchen tool that people use for home canning generally. They are mesh bags that are designed to strain the liquid. This type of bag helps to strain liquid into clear liquid so that you can use them for making jelly: or you may want to drink it as juice. People also know them as “Jelly Strainer Bags”.
Characteristics of these Bag
Nylon or Cloth is the main material for making a these bags. A standard North American can hold crushed fruits which can weigh 2 kilograms or 4 pounds approximately. Though a lot of people complain it’s not enough, but it is actually a lot. This material of the bag is of high quality and is durable. It dries out easily after using. You can use them for many times. It normally has an opening of 12 inches which helps to ensure the fruits gets inside. Some jelly bag may have pointed tips while others have a rounded tip.
Uses of a Jelly Bag
People use these bags generally in the initial stage of making jelly. First of all, you have to cook or smash the fruits so that they get softer. Then you need to put the fruits inside the bag and the bag is then put on some kind of bowl. You have to connect the bowl on some kind of stand. This stand helps the liquid juice to drip into bowl and the solids remain stuck in the cloth. It is better to put the smashed fruit in the bag for a longer time especially for overnight.
Why do we use them?
You can clearly understand from the name itself that you need them to produce jelly. But other than that, it has got other applications also. Anyone can easily use these if he/she needs to separate the liquids from the solids. From a fruit mixture, these bags will strain out pulp, skin and seeds. These bags can also strain Stems and leaves from a herb based mixture. Besides, if you are making some ketchup or sauce for your pasta, you may use these bags to strain the skin of a tomato.
Apart from all these you can use these for vegetable soup, yogurt or for making wine beer etc.
How to make Jelly bag at home?
If you want to make these bags at home, you will need just a few pieces of cheese cloth. To make your own jelly bag, put some layer of cheese cloth altogether so that their edges match. Then put your mashed or cooked fruits in the clothes and try to form a sling. This sling will hold the fruits inside. After that, secure all the corners and suspend over the bowl so that it can strain. Many people just hang the fruit from a kitchen door handle or any kind of stool. This helps to keep the jelly bag undisturbed. Therefore, the juice of the fruits can easily strain from the solids.
What can be a substitute?
The main purpose of a jelly bag is to separate the solids such as seeds or other fiber materials from the liquids. So if do not have any this kind of bag you can just use anything that can fulfill this purpose. For example, you can use some old mesh like cloth pantyhose, old pillow case, and unbleached muslin. A lot of people also suggest a cheese cloth. Before using any of these, please ensure that these are wet and are not dry in any places. A dry one can absorb the juice of the fruits and your fruit juice may get wasted.
But nylon one is better as it does not have this issue.
Jelly bag vs. Cheesecloth?
A lot of people suggest to use a cheese cloth as a substitute for a jelly bag. The most important issue is that the cheesecloth people buy from the hardware is actually quite coarse and to strain the liquids you need finer piece of cloth. For that you have to find a cheese supplying place.
Other than that, when you want to use cheesecloth as an alternative, you have to use many layers of cloth and it gets more expensive eventually. You can also feel that the cheesecloth has absorbed a lot of fruit juices .
Is it worth buying it?
If you are in a beginner level in home canning and you are doing it for once or twice, you may not want to use a jelly bag or you can make a homemade one.
But if you feel that you will need these bags for home canning for over and over then it’s better to buy a jelly bag. A jelly bag is inexpensive and you can use it for many times. It also strains in the best way. So for a longer period of time, you should opt for a jelly bag. This will save you a lot of time, money and resources.
Some tips to follow while using these bags
- Be sure to check that the fruits are mashed or cooked
- Leave the mashed fruits in a jelly bag for overnight.
- Never ever use a dried out mixture
- Clean the bag thoroughly after using it
- For a long term use, do not look for a substitute.
So after all the discussion we can say that a jelly bag is an essential part of a kitchen. Though there are other substitutes it’s better to stick to the jelly bag since it is the best option for straining liquids.
Hello, This is Lora J Fusco. I am have been working as a chef in a restaurant for years. This the place where I pass my time by writing blogs for you. Welcome here.