My first try at making wine jelly occurred recently while visiting my
hometown of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. My mom and I spent an afternoon together attempting a wine jelly and a cherry whisky jam. I say “attempting” because the results were less than ideal.
This could have been due to a number of things: a faulty recipe, spending more time talking than focusing, or too much taste testing of the title ingredients. Although a wonderful visit was achieved, my mom’s jam overcooked and candied, while my wine jelly ended up a wine syrup.
So after some momentary disappointment, I realized there will be many happy pancakes in the future.
As any new or experienced cook knows, not every recipe turns out right. Luckily, it can occasionally be salvaged or repurposed and at the very least becomes a learning experience.
An overcooked jam can be melted down and mixed into a barbecue sauce, or used for filling in a thumbprint cookie. Undercooked jam or jelly can be returned to the stove with a teaspoon of lemon juice and brought to a boil again, cooking for a minute and stirring continuously, or simply used as a syrup instead.
After a bit of research, I have now found a recipe for wine jelly that yields perfect results. I used a cabernet merlot, but you could try this recipe using any favourite wine, including whites or rosés. Just be sure to use a wine you like the flavour of, because that will be the flavour of your jelly!
The alcohol cooks out during the creation of the jelly, but retains a deliciously rich wine flavour in the end product.
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Feed
Makes four 250 ml (1 cup) jars
3 cups wine
3 ¼ cups sugar
1 package (85 ml) liquid pectin
3 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp butter
Clean four 250 ml jars with soap and water, dry, and set aside. Fill a pot large enough to hold those jars with water in preparation for boiling processing bath.
Bring 1¼ cups wine to a boil in a small pot over medium-high heat, cooking until reduced to ⅓ cup, about 8-10 minutes; set aside.
Bring the sugar and remaining wine to a boil in large pot, stirring frequently. Stir in the pectin, lemon juice, and butter, and return to a vigorous boil, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in the reserved reduced wine.
Transfer jelly to the jars, leaving a ¼ inch headspace and making sure to wipe the rims clean before placing the lids on. Place in the large pot of boiling water and process for 10 minutes, then remove and allow jars to cool to room temperature before storing in a cool place.