HERBAL JELLIES . . . TIMELESS GIFTS
Stock your pantry while herbs are in season with decorative 8-ounce jars of homemade herbal jelly. Sooner than you can believe it, you'll have a closet full of charming, unique, personalized gifts to give for birthdays, hostess gifts, celebrations, holidays, or just because.
Easier to make than fruit jellies, simply steep fresh herbs in water to extract their flavor. Then add acid and sweetener to the infusion and pectin to set the gel. Any edible herb can be used, but if you're a beginner you may wish to start with some of the standbys like basil, lavender, lemon balm, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, or thyme.
Basic Herbal Jelly Recipe
For the infusion, bring 2-1/2 cups water to a boil. Pour over 10 tablespoons fresh herbs (4 tablespoons dried). Let steep for 15 minutes. Strain into a stainless steel or glass saucepan (should have 2 cups infusion).
For the jelly, add 1/4-cup cider vinegar to 2 cups herbal infusion in saucepan. Stir in 2-1/2 cups honey. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add 3 ounces fruit pectin, continue to boil for 1 minute, while stirring. Remove from heat, skim off foam, and pour into four or five half-pint sterilized jars. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath for time according to altitude.
Half-pint jars: (0-1000 ft) 5 minutes; (1,001-6,000 ft) 10 minutes; (above 6,001 ft) 15 minutes.
Another option is to include fruit juice in your jelly. The following recipe will give you a starting point. Then, you can come up with your own clever combinations using different fruit juices and herbs (see below for inspiration). Don't forget to add an irresistible touch to the jelly by placing a fresh sprig or flower from each herb in the jar before sealing.
Fruity Herbal Jelly
1 cup of apple juice
2 cups of herbal infusion
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups sugar
1 package pectin
6 fresh sprigs of herbs for the jars
To make an infusion, simply bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add a generous handful of herbs to the pan, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes or until cools to room temperature. Strain off the herbs and measure out 2 cups. Proceed with the jelly directions included in a box of pectin. Place a fresh herb sprig or flower into each jar. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath canner for time according to altitude.
Half-pint or pint jars: (0-1000 ft) 5 minutes; (1,001-6,000 ft) 10 minutes; (above 6,001 ft) 15 minutes.
Apple mint and apple juice
Lavender and white grape juice or purple for extra color
Rose geranium and apple juice
Rosemary and orange juice
Sage and pineapple juice
Tarragon and grapefruit juice
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and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *