Last Christmas, my children and their families all met in Fredericksburg, TX. One of our favorite shops there is a gourmet shop called Rustlin' Rob's. My son-in-law came out and asked if I had tried the Margarita Jelly, and since I hadn't, he took me back into the store and through the crowd to allow me to try it. Yum! I did what I usually try to do: I sat out to make it at home, but first, I needed a recipe. Uncle Phaedrus, Finder of Lost Recipes (www.hungrybrowser.com) solved that part of the problem. After a few adjustments, I am having margaritas for breakfast!
The washing of jars and canner are not included in the preparation time of this recipe.
BEFORE BEGINNING THE JELLY:
Jars should be very clean. Carefully inspect each jar for chips around the rim BEFORE washing. I have a cut on my pinky knuckle from about 10 years ago when I shoved my hand into a chipped pint jar to wash it.
Have water boiling already in boiling water canner with jar rack in bottom. Water should be deep enough to cover jars with one inch of water when the capped jars are placed in.
Note: to prevent cloudy mineral discoloration of jars, you may place two teaspoons of white vinegar in your canner water and in the water you are using to boil your jars
Also have an extra pan of water ready to boil when you remove the jelly pan from the burner (in case you need extra water to cover the jars).
Boil jalf pint jars (or smaller) in another large pot on top of stove. Keep the jars in this water until just before jelly is done.
About five minutes before you need them, take jars out with tongs, one at a time, and turn over onto CLEAN dish towel, allowing each jar to fully drain.
In another pan, place jar rings and lids in hot water and bring to boil, but do not continue to boil, or the seals may melt. Just keep them hot and steriled and the rubber sealant soft.
Zest three of the limes into a large pan. (I use a dutch oven size so that it doesn't spatter out or boil over.) Then roll limes on counter and juice enough limes to measure 3/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice. Pour lime juice, water and orange juice mixture, tequila, and orange liqueur into pan. Add butter, salt, and sugar. Bring to boil over high heat (stirring constantly). Stir in pouch of liquid pectin. Bring to boil again -- rolling boil -- for 1 minute. Dip tines of a fork into the jelly to see if the jelly spreads between tines. This is Karla Everette's doneness test. (SEE NOTES FROM KARLA EVERETT BELOW.) Once it's done, remove from heat and immediately skim off foam. Work quickly but carefully now. (Hot jelly on your skin really hurts!)
Place extra pan of water on burner now and turn on high heat to get it boiling.
FROM KARLA EVERETT'S POST ON HER EASY STRAWBERRY JAM: Easy Strawberry Jam
"Reliable Jelly Test: Dip a silver fork into the boiling jelly, and if it fills in between tall the tines of the fork the jelly is done. If not, cook a little longer until it fills in between the tines instead of dripping through.
In determining when the jellying point has been reached, place some of the jelly on a cold plate and draw a path through it with the point of a spoon. If the path stays without the jelly running together, the jellying point has been reached" (Karla Everett).
Place a towel in the bottom of a clean sink so that the hot jars do not break if they touch the cold surface. Place jars on the towel, and using a canning funnel, fill jars to 1/2 to 3/4 inch from rim.
Remove jars one or two at a time from sink, and place on a towel covered counter. Using a CLEAN wet towel or paper towel, wash off the rim of each jar. (If any jelly gets on the rim, it will not seal.) Then dry rim.
Take sterilized lids and rings out of the pan of hot water with the tines of a fork or tongs, and cap each jar and screw on ring.
Using the tongs, place each capped jar into the boiling water canner (on top of rack). Once all jars are loaded, check the water level. If additional water is needed to cover the jars with at least an inch or two of water, pour boiling water in.
Once the water in the canner is at a rolling boil (meaning you can't stir the boiling water down, time the boil for at least ten minutes. (Jelly is really supposed to be okay after five minutes and jam is supposed to be okay after ten minutes, but I do ten minutes to make sure that every jar reaches the right internal temperature. For this reason, never use larger jars than pints for canning jelly as one cannot ensure that the internal temperature reached is sufficient in the water bath method.)
Once time is up, turn off heat, and carefully use canning tongs to remove each jar (keeping each upright) and place the jars on a dish towel covered counter. Leave a little space between each jar. If you want to lay a paper towel over them to dry up the water on the lids that's fine, but don't touch the lids. Allow them to seal on their own.
You will begin to hear them pop. Some take longer than others, but be patient. Any which don't seal should go into the refrigerator and be used within a couple of weeks. Sometimes, I touch the seal at this point and it seals, but my mom says only trust them if they seal on their own.