For the first half of the summer my garden produces things like spinach and lettuce which don’t freeze very well (and peas, which I won’t eat after they’ve been frozen, so I might as well eat fresh)
So until the green beans and broccoli are ready most of what I preserve is fruit: jams, jellies, and frozen rhubarb.*
This vanilla cherry jelly was inspired by my friend’s champagne rose jelly. I’m not going to say it’s even close to as amazing, but it’s still a great jelly, one I’ll make again (maybe the champagne rose jelly is setting the bar a little high)
1/2 pint of cherries, pitted and chopped up to less than 1/2 inch bits
1/8t clove powder
1t vanilla extract
1 bottle (750 ml) apple or other sweet fruit wine
2T lemon juice
1 packet of pectin
For my jelly I used a bottle of home made apple pomegranate wine. Apparently I went through a phase where I added too much sugar to my wine at bottling. Sometimes sweetening it back a little is nice, these are way over done so they’re like a super-sweet ice wine – but it’s just extra table sugar… Anyway I figured they’d be perfect for making jelly! Since you probably don’t have a bottle of my home-made wine at your house look for a sweet apple wine, or try some other fruit wine. Sweet is fine, but make sure that it has a flavor you still like. Some of those commercial fruit wines don’t taste good at all…
Clean your jars and lids first! This recipe makes 5 half-pints of jelly. I always wash an extra little jar just in case, but this time I didn’t use it.
Pour the wine into a large pot, add the lemon juice, vanilla, clove powder, and pectin.
Bring the whole mess to a boil.
Dump in the cherries and when it start to boil hard measure one full minute. I didn’t want the cherries to cook to mush, that’s why they went in last.
Add the sugar and STIR! (this is the part where it foams a lot)
When it comes back to a boil measure 2.5 minutes more.
Ladle the hot jelly into the clean jars, put the lids on and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. I was careful to make sure some of the chopped cherries went into each jar.
Once the 10 minutes are up take them out and let them cool on the counter. This jelly did not set as quickly as some of the ones I’ve made in the past. This was frustrating to me because I was trying to get the cherry bits to be suspended throughout but they kept floating to the top. I think if you check on the jelly to keep track of how it’s setting up you should be able to give each jar a swirl just as the jelly is the consistency of molasses and you’ll get the suspended cherry bits.
*Rhubarb is technically a veggie not a fruit. But everyone treats it as a fruit, so there.