Mayhaws and Color
Does the dark red jelly taste best? We have a large number of trees with variances in color from gold to deep burgundy. Color also depends on collecting at the beginning and at the end of their season.
There are more green berries (which produce a natural pectin) in the beginning, of course. Toward the end of collection time they are all ripe and darker.
One year I collected berries from the trees with the gold berries to see what the difference might be. It was lighter in color but I couldn’t tell any difference in flavor.
However, if you are comparing colors between jellies with and without added pectin, there can be a color difference. The juice and sugar darkens with the longer cooking needed without added pectin. Keep in mind that pectin is a natural product found in apples, oranges and mayhaw berries. We purchase a pure pectin with no additives for preservation.
Some color difference could be that the person boils the berries a couple of times. We don’t do that and we use a press to remove all the concentrated juice from the berries as they drain.
None of my information is scientific. Only what happens in my cooking process. One of the university studies I read did caution to not overcook the berries because it will destroy the natural pectin. It also stated that too high a heat can scorch the sugar. What I know for sure is that after much jelly making, taste testing every batch and some added pounds, it all just tastes yummy to me.
There is a video that we made last year, 2014, about how to make Mayhaw Jelly with pectin and without. Most folks tell me it is easy to follow. Jelly Making Videos so give it a try.
Mayhaw Trees Must Grow in Water?
Not really. The tree in the woods is destroyed by fire so we find the ones that survive in or around a water source. They do tolerate water very well and often grow in those areas where nothing else seems to flourish. What they do seem to need is a good spot of sunshine. Our mayhaw stand has a few hardwoods growing in and around it. We’ve noticed the trees that produce the most berries are in full sun.