...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dual-Purpose Work in the Kitchen

...with Cherry Wine Jelly and Bottled Herb Vinegars

Remember those herb vinegars we put to steep a few weeks ago? Well, they are finished steeping. All that is left to do now is to strain off the herbs over cheesecloth (or if you're not too finicky about the cloudiness factor, over a small-holed colander) and pour the vinegar into a bottle for storage.

My personal preference is to use recycled wine bottles for my herb vinegars--corks and all. For some, an easy way to have a wine bottle available for vinegars is to drink a glass now and then during a reading rest--Grandma's crystal and a fine old Victorian novel in the quiet of the evening. Who can beat that for home-grown elegance? But not everyone is a wine-drinking, Victorian-novel reader. In that case, making wine jelly is a nice way to secure an empty bottle. My recipe for wine jelly is an adaptation of a recipe for Chablis jelly.

Making jelly with either wine or juice is very simple and requires a minimum of ingredients. I used the following:

3 1/2 C of black cherry wine

1/2 C lemon juice

1 pkg powdered pectin

4 1/2 C sugar

That and the jars for canning are all you need to make the jelly! You begin by combining the liquid and the pectin in a large sauce pot. Stir frequently as you bring that mixture to a boil; then when it's boiling, add the sugar quickly. Stir until the sugar is dissolved as the mix comes to a rolling boil. At first, when the sugar dissolves the jelly will look like a thin syrup--as shown in the opening photo; but when it begins to boil, it will froth up a rich foam. When the foam rises, begin to stir constantly and set your timer. Allow it to boil hard for exactly one minute.

After boiling is complete, take the jelly from the heat and, if necessary, skim off remaining foam. Ladle the hot jelly into hot half-pint jars with 1/4 inch of head space allowance. For a reminder on how to prep your supplies for the canner, see the earlier post:


The jelly processes in the water-bath canner for 10 minutes, and you are finished. As simple as that! Really, the hardest part of the day's work was getting the original labels off the wine bottles.

Today's bread on the side board: honey granola, a mildly sweet but hearty bread, good for sampling the new jelly. Now, with my chamomile tea from my china-cabinet cup and my hot bread mounding with sweet spread, I'll pick up that next chapter of Bronte and pretend it's high tea...

1 comment:

  1. in the photo of ingredients for the jelly, I included a pic of the apple juice I had on hand in case the wine didn't go far enough to fulfill the required 3 1/2 cups...