Wine Jelly

 

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The guy working at my wine store looked at me like I had two heads when I told him I needed a dry white to make wine jelly out of. The guys who work at my wine store are of a species of fake connoisseurs that I like to think of as dumb nerds. In my years as a college professor I’ve taught many such people: young kids who know a little something about something that’s got a whiff of sophistication to it. They’re not experts, but they take on the mean-spirited and arrogant demeanor that they believe an expert would have. Not that wine jelly is the least bit sophisticated. I was just amused by the look of horror on the face of my liquor store man when I told him what my wine was getting used for.

Wine jelly is incredibly easy to make. It’s already liquid and seeing as you’ve got to use liquid pectin to make it, there’s not a lot of time that goes into this. All you need to worry about is sterilizing your jars, bands, and lids for canning. That takes a little time, but the jelly making is very simple.

Herbes de Provence Wine Jelly

Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

2 cups dry white wine

1 tbsp herbes de Provence

2 cups sugar

1 pouch (3 oz) liquid pectin

1.)   Start heating the water in water bath canner.

2.)   Combine wine and herbs and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and steep for 20 minutes.

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3.)   Line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth and strain mixture.

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4.)   Measure out 1 3/4ths cups of infused wine.

5.)   Prepare canner, jars, and lids.

6.)   Put wine in a saucepan and stir in sugar. Stir constantly over high heat until it reaches a high boil. Stir in pectin and boil, constantly stirring, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and use the freezer test. Skim off foam and pour jelly into prepared jars. Screw on lids and bands until fingertip tight.

7.)   Place jars in the canner, making sure they’re covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars.

8.)   Leave jelly jars on a damp towel on counter top overnight.

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Victorian Barbecue Sauce with Rhubarb

I just got my very own copy of the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Flipping through the index, I was attracted to the entry for Victorian Barbecue Sauce with rhubarb. It made me think of English gardens in springtime. I thought of those giant manor houses, and all those skivvies sitting hour after hour beside hot fires turning the meat for the master’s table. What with its evocation of garden fresh ingredients, a kitchen bigger than my apartment, and a dearth of labor laws, this ‘barbecue sauce’ produced such a wealth of associations, I had to make it immediately.

According to the Ball book, “Victorian cooks roasted their meat in huge kitchen fireplaces and enhanced it with homemade sauces concocted from the garden…” So I suppose you could try to make this sauce from almost any fruit you like. It’s got to be good with beef, lamb, chicken, or any number of game fowl. Be sure to eat your rhubarb-basted supper accompanied by a decent hock, with a gooey treacle tart for pudding.

Victorian Barbecue Sauce with Rhubarb

(Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)

2 cups chopped rhubarb

2/3-cup brown sugar

½ cup raisins

2 tablespoons chopped onion

2 tablespoons white vinegar

¼ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon salt

1.)   Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

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2.)   Reduce heat to a summer and stirring frequently cook sauce until thickened to consistency of barbecue sauce.

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3.)   Use as is or puree in a food processor to achieve a homogenous texture.

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