First and foremost, I need to give credit where it's due. I originally found this recipe on Putting Up with the Turnbulls, which is a great site to check out and listed in the "Links I Like" section of this blog. Their recipe calls for making your own pectin by cooking apples and using the resulting juice to get the gel in your jelly. I followed their instructions, but the altitude here can be tricky and I ended up overjelling my mixture. The end result was something more akin to spiced beer honey than jelly. Not a terrible thing, mind you. It still tasted amazing on toast and served as a really nice glaze ingredient for poultry. My mission, however, was to create an actual jelly. Yesterday, I went back to the drawing board, making a few concessions to ease and speed, two items I hold in very high esteem.
I eliminated the apple step and opted, instead for two packets of liquid pectin, a huge time saver! Another problem that gave me fits during my first crack at this jelly was the fact that the beer mixture kept foaming to ridiculous heights. It was nearly impossible to keep in the pot, probably because of the carbonation in the beer. Instead of going right to the jelly-making step, I decided to try steeping the beer with the spices first, in order to take a little "life" out of the beer before attempting to turn it into jelly. The end results were wonderful; a nicely spiced jelly, with the right consistency and a cooking process that was much more controllable. Want to give it a try? I'll walk you through the recipe here:
|My ingredients, ready to go|
(Makes 12 4-ounce jars or 6 6-ounce jars)
(2) 12-ounce bottles of amber ale (You can try whatever beer appeals, but I really like the flavor of our local Avalanche Amber Ale from Breckenridge Brewery).
2 sticks cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
Grated zest of 1 orange
|Ingredients for steeping|
Juice of 1 lemon
5 1/4 cups sugar
2 pouches liquid pectin
Put beer, cinnamon, cardamom and orange zest into a medium-sized, stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat, cover and allow ingredients to steep for 20 minutes.
Remove and discard cinnamon sticks.
Transfer beer mixture to large, stainless steel pot. Stir in apple juice, lemon juice and sugar. Heat on high, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a full, rolling boil that can't be broken by stirring. Add both pouches of pectin and continue stirring. When mixture comes back to a full, rolling boil, continue boiling hard and stirring constantly for two minutes, or until mixture begins "sheeting" off a spoon.
After 25 minutes, turn off heat and remove canner lid. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then remove jars to clean towel on countertop. Allow to sit for 12 to 24 hours until all jars have "popped," indicating an adequate seal. Reprocess or refrigerate and promptly use any jars that don't seal properly.
|Filled, processed jars|
|Close-up of spiced beer jelly.|
Can you see the spices and pieces of orange zest?