My research, and ultimate findings after 2 batches have yielded the recipe below. I am not 100% satisfied from an aesthetic perspective, but I am razzle dazzled *insert jazz hands* from a taste perspective. This stuff has wooed and wowed 2 parties now, and I am learning that a jar of this gold is quite a well received hostess gift.
It all started with some innocent reading of one of my fave e-zines Sweet Paul, when I came across their recipe for a garlic rosemary jelly. I have always loved savory/sweet jellies and jams, so this was right up my alley. Their recipe called for Pomona pectin, but I had plenty of Certo left over from last season I wanted/needed to use, so I adapted the recipe to work with my pectin on hand.
The first batch I made in Weck jars, the 7.4 oz Deco and the 7.4 oz. Tulip jelly jars. The deco jars worked better since they are short and squat. The jelly jars seem designed for a clear jelly and not one with bits, since they float. With my second batch I used Ball wide mouth 8 oz jars because they were the squattiest ones I know of. More on that later.
This recipe is from my second batch, which is a double batch yielding about 8 cups of jelly.
Prepare your jars by putting them in the canner in simmering water. (I actually don’t have a canning pot but simply use a stock pot with a round cookie cooling rack set in the bottom to keep the jars elevated…might be time for an upgrade?)
3 1/2 cups white wine
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 heaping cup slivered garlic
10 thick branches of rosemary, plus 10 small sprigs, rinsed and blotted dry
7 cups of sugar
pat of butter
2 pouches Certo pectin
Simmer the wine, vinegar, garlic and 7 branches of the rosemary for about 15 minutes on medium high to infuse the liquid with flavor.
This where things might get a little controversial. Every other recipe I’ve seen puts the rosemary in a sachet, or some other way to keep it out of the liquid, but I am shamelessly greedy when it comes to rosemary, and I wanted to infuse as much flavor as possible despite the extra work naked branches brings to the equation. If you want this to go faster, chop the rosemary leaves and put into cheesecloth with the garlic/wine/vinegar. Otherwise, follow my completely unprofessional method.
Because I didn’t want the sugar to dilute the rosemary flavor too much, I have done the unthinkable and added the sugar BEFORE fishing out the rosemary. I also add a pat of butter at the same time to prevent foaming on top, stirring constantly. After the first few minutes, when the mixture is starting to bubble, I fish out the 7 rosemary branches and replace them with the remaining 3 fresh branches.
Then comes the tedious part. After a few more minutes of bubbling, simmering and constant stirring, I fish out the remaining branches and start to strain the stray rosemary bits from the mixture. If I had used the cheesecloth, this would not be necessary, but I was working on instinct not expediency here.
I use a bamboo skewer to pick out the rosemary from the garlic and return the garlic to the pot. Once the mixture is syrupy, a skewer is the best tool for picking out stray leaves.
Then add the 2 pouches of pectin… and even though the packet directions say to boil for only a minute, I found that instead of a rolling boil, a low boil for 3-5 minutes works better here. Less foam.
Ladle into your jars, then add a fresh sprig of rosemary, and process as usual. (Put on lids/rings and put into boiling water, 1-2 inches above the jar tops and simmer for 10 minutes).
I reserved some jelly to put into a jar as refrigerator jelly because of my frustrations with presentation. When the jelly is processed, the rosemary sprig loses its green fresh look, as you can see….
…but the jar that was not processed in the canner didn’t recook the jelly, so the rosemary sprig stays fresh looking.
You can also see above the difference in color between the processed jelly (left) and refrigerator jelly (right). The processed jelly turns a more golden color, where the fridge jelly stays a clear, pale gold with a hint of green. The other situation is the garlic slivers. They will float to the top of the jar, so after all the lids have “popped” and are adequately sealed and the rings tightened, I started to rotate them every 15 minutes to distribute the garlic and rosemary throughout the jar. Doing this while the jelly is still warm and liquid allows the bits to move throughout the jar.
To can the jelly without the rosemary seems like a huge loss, since it will then appear as only a garlic jelly, but the fridge jelly, while not shelf stable for months, is, in my opinion, prettier. For the fridge jelly, instead of rotating the jars, I simply used a skewer (again) to push down the garlic and rosemary every 15-20 minutes while it cooled. The fridge jelly sets just fine without the reprocessing for those who might wonder.
While both taste really wonderful, I think that from a presentation viewpoint, and for an immediate gift, don’t reprocess the jars. To save some of this deliciousness for the winter months, can away, but it is unlikely to last that long in my brief experience!
My favorite way to eat it is over goat cheese, spread on a rosemary cracker, or other thin crispbread. It’s also wonderful with pork or chicken. Play with it, and tell me how you end up using it!