It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new on the Winemaking front since everything has pretty much been in the ‘hurry up and wait’ mode, but I spent this weekend doing some final racking on several different wines, which means that in just a matter of a few weeks it’ll be time to finally bottle them. And yes, the drinking can then commence.
Now onto the wine jelly fun. 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.
Wine jelly can be used to glaze different types of meats for extra flavor, or you can add it to your cream cheese bagel, or have the best PB&J sandwich ever. Princess Nagger loves wine jelly – she keeps asking if she can have a whole jar all to herself.
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)*|
Add the liquid pectin all at once, bring back to a full rolling boil and boil hard for one full minute. Remove from heat and 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.
I only had enough liquid pectin to make 2 batches – so the next 4 batches I used powdered pectin* instead. There are two main differences between using liquid pectin vs. powdered pectin – 1) the process is slightly different for powdered pectin*, which means it takes longer than the liquid pectin. And 2) liquid pectin tends to take a little longer for the jelly to ‘set’, sometimes up to two weeks, whereas the powdered pectin sets almost immediately. Those batches are a bit comical, since the jelly stayed at the top of the jars from being turned upside down:
See the clear space at the bottom? It doesn’t affect the jelly at all, particularly since the jars (obviously) successfully sealed. I thought about putting the labels on upside down for fun, but decided not to. Next time I’ll turn the jars right side up after about 10 or 15 minutes instead of a half hour.
You know what the best part of 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 don’t have liquid pectin, you can use powdered pectin – 6 cups wine, 8 cups sugar, 2 packages powdered pectin. You mix the wine and pectin together first, bring to a boil then add the sugar all at once. Bring back to a full rolling boil and boil for a full minute. Remove from heat and transfer to hot sterilized jelly jars.
I’m following Jan from Jan’s Sushi Bar‘s lead by adding a printable version here:
If you have a dishwasher, wash the jars in the dishwasher to sterilize them – start the batch of jelly during the 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 moisture 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).