It is now March, and thus the third monthly challenge of a yearly one set by Marisa at http://foodinjars.com/.. also at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FoodinJars the months are sure whizzing by quickly!
if you want to follow the challenge go to the Facebook page foodinjars and also the Hashtag #fijchallenge on Instagram..plenty of places to peek and find out more.
Now I think Jellies are up there in the list of my favourite preserves to make..I think they are highly satisfying to make , and the results are well worth the efforts. The colours always amaze me, such jewel like brilliance when you manage to make a good one..
A jelly is a clear jam, with no solids in at all, made with the collected juices of fruits and can be used for either sweet or savoury purposes, such as Mint jelly, Redcurrant, Cumberland, often served with meats or a spoonful in gravies and casseroles and such.
Shrubs are a drink, loaded with History and Tradition..I can remember my Gran in Law, who was Scots, making a certain recipe, which alas, do I not have. She used to be in service as a Cook to a Household in Scotland, and it was very popular. I wish I had paid attention when she cooked.. some are fruit liquers added with spirits, others can be Vinegar fruited syrups used as drinks..or added to lemonade etc, no real rules as to how you like your refreshments and cocktails..
Now this is beginning to be a favourite jelly of mine ,to be used as a condiment or in your cooking.. I often use jellies in stir fries, salads and dressings, savoury casseroles and gravies..glazes for cooking meats, baking, in fact its not often that I use it as an actual sweet spread..
BALSAMIC VINEGAR JELLY
I fell in love with balsamic glaze and Jelly that can be bought commercially and thought I might try to recreate it.. I first tried it with Dark Balsamic which was superb..and then again with White Balsamic ,thinking that would look amazing. I added Black Onion seeds, but you could actually add many different ingredients.. such as herbs, roasted garlic etc etc.. It turned out to be ridiculously easy and quick to make
2 pints vinegar
2lbs white sugar ..granulated
1 sachet powder Pectin I used which was 8gram, which converts to about 2 teaspoons..
Onion seeds.about 3 or 3 teaspoons..and bay leaves
Have ready and clean, a few jars and lids to use ..I usually keep them warm to stop and thermal shock of jars cracking when filling with hot liquids.
Add the pectin to the sugar and mix well, put vinegar in a good size pan , allow plenty of room for bubbling up on a fast boil .
Add the sugar/pectin mix to the vinegar in the pan, put on a low heat and let the mix warm slowly and dissolve the sugar..once this is done you can turn the heat up to get a fast rolling boil..one that bubbles lively..From this point start timing and allow 4 minutes , remove from heat .. follow the instructons on your chosen Pectin packet, they may vary from one product to another.. But I tested for a set..using the saucer method..
I then toasted in a dry frying pan some onion seed and a couple of bay leaves to add ..I added the onion seed to the mixture and proceeded to fill the jars, popped a bay leaf in each jar , then screwed on the clean , new lug lids..Process in WB or steam canner, remove and put jars on a folded tea cloth to let cool..
I WB or Steam Canner Process my jars for 12minutes..
I did notice that with the onion seeds they floated to the top of the jars..soo while cooling and seeing the jelly beginning to thicken I very carefully rolled and shook the jars every 10 minutes or so to redistribute the seeds more evenly throughout the mix..but be careful not to compromise the seal..it is easier to do this with lug lids rather than 2 piece flat lids and rings..