Summer has come to a close, and you may have an abundance of fresh herbs, the perfect candidates for herb jellies. This is also a wonderful way to preserve those summer flavors you love! There are many possible flavor combinations for herb jellies, leaving nearly no end to tastebud enticement that can last all winter long.
Herb jellies add a beautiful burst of flavor to morning toast, afternoon tea, dinner rolls, and can even be incorporated between layers of a cake and in cupcake frosting! Herb jellies can transform the ordinary to extraordinarily flavorful, all the while bringing you the flavors reminiscent of summertime.
Below is a basic jelly recipe that can be used for most any herb, whether your intended flavors be sweet, spicy, or savory. Chives, chamomile, lavender, fennel, lemon verbena, marjoram, mint, thyme, parsley, scented geraniums, tarragon, and rose are all some possible ingredients. Combine as you would in cooking, to achieve the desired flavor emphasis. Try basil and blackberry juice, with a splash of lemon juice as a great jelly for home-made biscuits!
Basic Herb Jelly
2 cups of your favorite fresh herbs leaves or flowers
2 cups water, apple juice, or white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar
4 cups sugar (brown or white)
3 ounces liquid fruit pectin
pinch of salt
1-2 drops food coloring (if desired)
Wash half-pint jelly jars in dishwasher or boiling water, to sterilize. Keep jars hot until ready to fill with jelly. Use new canning lids, and keep then immersed in hot water until ready to cover filled jelly jars.
Coarsely chop the chosen herbs and place in a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups water, juice, or wine and bring to a consistent boil for 10 seconds. Remove from heat and let stand until completely cooled. Strain and discard herbs. There should be 1 1/2 cups of the liquid remaining.
Pour the infused 1 1/2 cups liquid into a large cooking pot, adding lemon juice or vinegar, salt, food coloring, and sugar. Bring to a hard boil before adding fruit pectin, then continue to boil for precisely 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off any foam.
Immediately pour jelly into the sterilized, hot half-pint jars, not filling past 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe jar rims clean, and lightly tighten hot lids onto each filled jar. Tip covered jars upside down for about 1 minute. This will coat the inside of the jars, creating a nice seal. Place jars right side up on a towel and allow to cool. Label, date, and store in a cool, dark place. Jelly will keep for about 1-2 years.