Page 60

18749BB

GASPARILLA MAGAZINE JULY/AUG 2016 60 out Lilly Pink. Little did she know, years later she would have a sea grape jelly cult following. Since that day, she has made more than 5,000 jars of jelly, and has sold them for $10 to $12 each. All of that money has gone to cancer research and studies programs. “With jelly, it’s not like cookies or cake,” she said. “You can only make one batch, and that’s usually only nine jars for one batch. Then you have to clean everything and start all over. I can’t say it’s a pain in the butt … it’s not. It’s a labor of love: I love why I do it, I love the way it makes my house smell. People tell me I should keep some of the money, and I just shrug. That’s not how I started out, that doesn’t feel right.” As the years passed, word of her jelly got around. Now it isn’t surprising for Kris to come out to her bright pink Jeep named “Baby” to find a case of canning jars waiting for her. One couple overheard her talking about how it was going to be a bumper crop that year, and how nice it would be to be able to freeze the grapes instead of having to do them all at once. Not long afterward they came in with a check and told me to get a freezer. The recipe sounds simple: Sea grapes, pectin, sugar and lime juice (sometimes key lime juice). But it’s not as easy as it sounds if you’re making Kris’s special recipe. The long part is making the juice. She boils the grapes for a very long time, as they don’t “pop” and release their juice all at once like grapes do. Then she uses a colander to sort out the sea grapes and puts them in another pan. She uses an old-fashioned potato masher for those, to get even more juice out of the pulp. When the juice is done, she puts the meat back in and stirs it all up. She puts pillowcases in two other pots on the floor, and scoops juice and guts into those pillowcases. She then pulls them up and ties them off on a broomstick, and lets gravity take its course. “I love why I do it. I love the way it makes my house smell.” “It has to be a gravitational drip,” she said, “because I know if I squeeze the juice out it will be milky. Sometimes I’ll gently rock them back and forth. But that all takes a few hours. Once the juice is done I sterilize the jars, measure out everything, bring juice, pectin and lime juice to a rolling boil where you can’t knock it down. Add your sugar, stirring constantly, bring that to a rolling boil, then turn timer on for one minute. When a minute is done I turn it off, scoop it into the jars. I use my mom’s coffee cup that says ‘Laurie’ on it so she’s a part of it, too. I tighten the lids and flip them upside down for about five minutes, then flip them back over. You’ll hear a little noise, and then they’re sealed.” And this is the woman who says she can’t cook. The woman whose business cards say “Many people have eaten my cooking and gone on to lead normal lives.” “But if people realize you can cook, they want you to,” she said. Of course, there’s a bit of a Lilly touch, too. One detail that makes Kris’s jelly even more special is the cloth ring that is used as a decorative lid cover. When she visits the Lilly Pulitzer headquarters on the other coast she is allowed to go into the fabric drawers and pick some to take home for her jar covers. Some of her jelly clients buy her product as much for those precious rings of fabric as they do for the tasty condiment. You’ll see Kris along the bike path some time around late September and into October, picking the ripest berries from the trees. There are a few places, she said, that go into early November. They don’t ripen all at once, she said, so she carefully picks the ripe ones and leaves the rest for later. One of her latest creations is sea grape/habanero/jalapeño jelly. The


18749BB
To see the actual publication please follow the link above