I am waiting patiently for the glut of summer harvest to start. The cucumbers are coming along although I am not sure about this variety…they don’t seem to be doing as well as I had hoped. The squash plants have essentially taken over the garden and are producing, but the tomatoes, eggplants and peppers are still a week or so away. What is coming in strong are the herbs….the herb garden I planted in the spring is going like gang busters and I couldn’t be more pleased.
One of the ways that I use herbs and also preserve them for later use is to make herbed jelly. Many people have experienced the nasty green mint jelly that was paired with lamb…not that mint jelly is bad, it just needs additional flavors to make it less harsh. One of my favorite jelly recipes is for rosemary jelly…this versative condiment works well with roasted meats and vegetables. This year I added another flavor to the jelly with garlic. I thought the two flavors together would bring out the best in my roasted food.
3-4 lbs of tart apples (granny smith)
4 cups water
5 cups sugar
1 large handful of rosemary leaves (removed from the stems)
6 large cloves of garlic.
Cut the apples in halve (do not peel) and place in a large non reactive pot. add the water and cook until the apples are very very soft (35-40 minutes). Mash the apples into a pulp. Strain the mixture through a jelly bag or fine cheesecloth for 6-8 hours to remove as much liquid as possible.
Rinse out the pot and return the juice to the pot. Add the sugar, rosemary and garlic and stir over a medium high flame until the mixture reaches jelly stage (I use my grandmother’s candy thermometer for this…I think it might be the oldest one in existence).
Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Check for jelly setting by placing a spoonful of the mixture on a chilled plate (the jelly should set up quickly). Ladle into sterilized warm jars and cover with a lid until the jelly cools and sets.
Remove the lids and add either a disk of waxe paper or melted beeswax over the top of the jars and replace the lid. This jelly will keep 6-8 months. Refrigerate after opening.