All the other wines I have working are in the ‘hurry up and wait’ mode as well, so yesterday was the perfect day to start the batches of wine jelly I had planned. It’s important that you choose a quality wine that tastes excellent, because even though the alcohol content gets boiled away in the process, the taste does not. Choose wisely.
I decided to start with making a Shiraz Wine Jelly – it’s one of the favorites that goes very quickly. Shiraz and Syrah are both names for the same red wine grape. Not to be confused with the Petit Sirah, a different red wine grape grown mostly in California.
Shiraz is known for its spicy blackberry, plum, and peppery flavors. Often there are additional notes of licorice, bitter chocolate and mocha. So turning Syrah or Shiraz wine into jelly? A no-brainer, really. It’s excellent with various types of meats and cheeses, crackers or toast. You can also use it to glaze different types of meats for extra flavor – anything from marinated steaks to lamb.
The process is fairly simple – this is the recipe I generally use, though I’ll switch it up on occasion depending on the type of wine I’ll use to make the jelly:
|6 cups||granulated sugar|
|2 packets||liquid pectin (6 oz. total)|
Boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat and add the liquid pectin all at once, stirring thoroughly for another minute. Transfer to hot, sterilized jelly jars. If you want to try the ‘non-bath’ method, make sure the lids are in hot water to sterilize them and make the rubber seal soft. You don’t want to have them in boiling water, just simmering because too hot will compromise the seal:
Yes, I’m using fancy jars which need the fancy lids. When you transfer the hot jelly to the jars, make sure you use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the rim of the jars and the threads clean – any dripped jelly will compromise the seal. Fish the caps out of the hot water with tongs (trust me, grabbing them absentmindedly with your bare fingers hurts…) put the caps on the jars and turn them upside down:
Leave them undisturbed for half hour to an hour before flipping them upright:
You’ll hear the sound of ‘popping’ as the lids finish sealing. If any of the lids do not seal, transfer those jars to the fridge and enjoy immediately. If the jars are still hot and you don’t think they’ve sealed properly, or you don’t want to try this method, stick with the tried-and-true method of doing a hot water bath on the jars for 10 minutes.
Now all that’s left for this batch of wine jelly is to wipe down the jars to make sure they’re nice and clean on the outside, add the shrink bands around the lids (I told you these were ‘fancy’ jars!) and add the label that I’ve designed for it.
Today I’ll be making a batch or two of Blackberry Merlot Wine Jelly and Concord Grape Wine Jelly. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get the labels that I ended up having to special order through Staples – that little fiasco will either be it’s own post, or jammed into my Random Tuesday Thoughts post tomorrow.
You know what the best part of this wine jelly is? You get to enjoy the full flavor of wine without the alcohol content. There’s also a recipe/method to make it mostly sugar free – I haven’t tried it yet, though at some point I will just to see how it is, or by special request.
If you have a dishwasher, wash the jars in the dishwasher to sterilize them – start the batch of jelly during they drying cycle – the jars will not only be clean and sanitized, but they’ll be piping hot to accept the hot jelly mixture if you fill them as you remove them from the dishwasher.
If you don’t have a dishwasher, you can either sterilize your jars by boiling them in a large pot of water, removing them with a jar lifter right before you fill them with jelly (in order to keep excess moister from getting into the jars, removed them from the hot water and turn them upside down onto a clean kitchen towel on the counter. Flip them over as needed for filling – just make sure they stay hot!)
You can also put your clean jars in the oven while you make jelly – if your jars are cold, set them in a cold oven and then turn the oven to its lowest temperature setting. The jars will slowly warm up as your oven preheats, and stay nice and hot while you make the jam.
Make sure the area you are filling the jars has a heat-resistant surface. I usually flip my cutting boards upside down and use them to protect my kitchen counter or dining room table from the extreme heat (and jelly splatters).
Edited to add:
The Spin Cycle this week is “Fall recipes”, so since Jen thought this would fit in with the theme this week, I’m adding it to the Spin for good measure. Check back Thursday as I’ll have another yummy ‘Fall Recipe’ to tag along on the Spin Cycle then, too!