Recipe for making Herb Jellies
Making Herbal Jellies
by Annette Gagliardi
I have herbs in my garden. One way to keep the flavor and color of herbs all year is to make them into jelly. Herb jellies can be used to flavor meats, as an ingredient in marinades and as a treat on your morning toast.
I am going to tell you about two jellies that I make: Nasturtium and Mint jelly.
Pick the freshest flowers from your Nasturtium plants. Also, if you gather a variety of colors, your tisane color will be more intense. If you are making mint jelly, gather the small, newer leaves of the plants. Pick enough mint leaves or Nasturtium flowers to make two cups of packed herbs.
Next, bring your herbs into the house, wash them and chop finely. Next, place the chopped herbs in a sauce pan; add 5 cups water and bring this to a boil. Cover and remove the pan from the heat. Let this stand for 10-15 minutes.
Wash jars and screw bands in hot, soapy water. Then rinse with warm water and set on a towel. Place all the lids in a metal or glass bowl. Begin boiling water to fill the jars and cover the lids with boiling hot water.
I strain this to make 4 cups of tisane which is what I use to make the jelly. I add a couple of drops of yellow food coloring to the Nasturtium jelly and a couple of drops of green food coloring to the Mint jelly.
I use one box of Sure Jell, which is a name brand for fruit pectin. And the recipe calls for 5 cups of sugar. I put the exact amount of sugar in a bowl and set it by the stove. I put the herb tisane in a large Dutch Oven and add: 1/2 tsp butter (to reduce foaming), 1 tsp. lemon juice, and the Sure-Jell. I use a wire whip to mix these ingredients into the tisane to completely dissolve them.
Don’t start cooking the jelly until the boiling water is in the jelly jars. While you are waiting, set up your jelly jarring station with a hot pad for the pan, the jars and lids, a set of tongs to get the lids from their bowl and a glass measuring cup setting in a bowl. Have a dish towel and paper towel ready.
Then, begin cooking the jelly on high heat, stirring continuously. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil . (That is when it is boiling and you cannot stir it down.)
Next, add the sugar all at once and stir it in quickly. Return the jelly to a full rolling boil and boil for one minute, again stirring continuously.
After you have timed the boil for one full minute, turn off the heat and bring your Dutch Oven to the counter where you have prepared the jelly jar filling station. Herb jellies have very little scum on the top, so you shouldn’t need to skim if off, but if there is a white foamy substance on the top of the jelly, use a tablespoon to skim this off and discard it.
Dump the boiling water out of a jelly jar and immediately fill it with jelly using the glass measuring cup. Use the paper towel to wipe off the rim of the jar. Now, use the tongs to retrieve a lid and place it onto the jar. Immediately screw the lid on tightly and place the jar upside down on a towel. I use a different towel to hold the jar as I tighten the lid.
Repeat these steps until all the jelly has been put into jars.
Next, I wash up the dishes quickly. This clean up usually takes just about five minutes, which is just in time to turn the jars right side up.
Let the jelly jars stand at room temperature for 24 hours before labeling and moving.
You can store the jelly in a cool, dry, dark place for up to one year. Refrigerate after opening the jelly jars.