It was a truly productive weekend last weekend. I made two batches of jelly; rosemary jelly (which I’m sharing today) and lemon mint jelly (which I’ll share next). I also participated in candy corn making (I’ll share that too!), which was heaps of fun. Ross also brewed his first batch of homebrew with his friends. In the words of our friend Saint Aardvark, who attended, it was a regular farmhouse social.
I had read about rosemary jelly on the Bernardin website. As an aside, I highly recommend their website for tips, recipes, and help. Unlike Certo, which is owned by Kraft Canada, Bernardin really lives what they sell, you know?
While I am becoming quite adept at jamming, I get a major rush from making beautiful, crystal clear jellies. I was interested in trying some herb jellies to expand my repertoire but wanted to stay away from the electric green strangeness that is mint jelly. I also wondered if rosemary jelly could be used on a multitude of things – poultry, pork, lamb, veggies, fish – rather than the typical MINT JELLY GOES ON LAMB because I’m actually not too big a fan of lamb. Lamb stew – yes. Lamb anything else – meh.
My rosemary plant is still a bit small and sad looking as it was a grocery store clearance item I’m trying to nurse along indoors before it goes outside into a big pot in the spring, so I put the call out on Twitter a few days ago to see if anyone had a rosemary plant they wouldn’t mind if I denuded. My friend Mona was only too happy to oblige. Her plant was over the top big so even though I stripped two giant zipper closure bags full of stems, it didn’t even look like I had touched it.
Admittedly, I’m a relatively new convert to rosemary. My beef is that I don’t like the chewy, poky needles and my early experiences only ever included tossing some random dried whole needles into the mix, but now I understand that if you chop it fine, or better yet, grind it up, it’s a whole new ball game.
Rosemary jelly is so incredibly fragrant and lovely. Making jelly is a bit of a process you can’t really rush, and if you don’t like rosemary I do NOT recommend you do it because it will take a few days to get that smell off your fingers and out of your house, but holy schmoly, if you like it, it is lovely.
For this jelly making experience, you need to be able to drip the rosemary over a bowl, so I recommend you invest in a jelly bag (I got mine from Lee Valley) but you can also use cheesecloth tied up over a bowl.
- 1.5 cups of packed, stemmed, washed rosemary
- 3 1/4 cups water
- 1 package Bernardin fruit pectin (crystals – don’t use the liquid or it will probably fail)
- 4 cups of sugar
- First, prep the rosemary. Wash it well, de-stem it all, and pack it into a measuring cup. When it measures 1 1/2 cups, wash it all again.
- Combine the rosemary and the water in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Cover, and let steep for 20 minutes ish. (I actually forgot about mine, so it steeped for about 30 minutes).
- Dampen your cheesecloth of jelly bag, and then pour mixture into the bag. Let it chill out and drip, undisturbed, for at least two hours or overnight. Do not squeeze it – that is what makes your jelly cloudy. It will look like this:
- In the morning, prep your jars. This recipe makes about eight 125 ml jars or four 250 ml jars. I generally chuck mine in the dishwasher to sterilize them and keep them hot, but you can also stick them in your canner and let them come up to the boil. Put your snap lids and rings into a pot on the stove and simmer – don’t boil. Prep your canner (if you aren’t using it to sterilize) and fill with enough water that the filled jars will be covered at least 1″.
- Measure out the sugar you need and set it aside. When it’s time to add it, it’s way simpler to dump it in if it is already measured.
- In your large pot, pour 3 cups of the rosemary-steeped water. Whisk in the package of pectin, and add a blob of butter to reduce foaming. Over high heat, bring it to a full rolling boil that can’t be stirred down.
- Add the sugar, all at once, and stir until dissolved. It’s going to start getting foamy at this point, so do not leave your pot unattended. Get it back up to a full rolling boil, and boil hard for 1 full minute.
- Remove from heat, let it sit for a minute or two, and skim off the foam.
- Ladle into the hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ of headroom. Remove air bubbles, and wipe clean the rims before adding lids and rings. Tighten fingertip tight.
- Load up your canner, making sure the jars are covered at least one inch. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.
- Remove to a nice comfy resting space and let the jars cool on their own time. The lids will make that fantastic popping noise and then just leave them alone for 24 hours.
This is what you get: a beautiful, transparent, honey-amber coloured jelly. GAWR-JUSS.