Spruce Tip Jelly

Spruce Tip Jelly

Yield: 4 to 5 cups

Serve spruce tip jelly on toast with butter; in thumb-print cookies; on a charcuterie platter; with smoked salmon and cream cheese; or to accompany any wild meat or fish, whether braised, grilled, roasted or fried.   

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen spruce tips
  • 3 cups water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (one whole lemon)
  • 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 ½ Tbsp (40 g) Certo Light pectin crystals (3/4 of a package)

Instructions

  1. Coarsely chop spruce tips to help release their flavour. Pour water into a medium-sized pot and bring to the boil over high heat. Add spruce tips, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and cool infusion to room temperature. Transfer to a clean container, cover and put in the fridge to steep for several hours or overnight. The longer it steeps, the stronger the flavour. 
  3. Before starting on the jelly, prepare jars and lids. Sterilize 5 250 mL jars or 10 125 mL jars (or a combination of both) in a boiling water bath for 12 minutes. Turn off heat and leave jars in the water until you’re ready to fill them. Cover lids (but not rings) with very hot water. 
  4. Strain spruce tip infusion through a sieve lined with cheesecloth into a large, clean pot. Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth, twist, and squeeze to extract all the juice from the spruce tips. 
  5. Stir pectin into ¼ cup sugar. Whisk into spruce tip infusion and stir in lemon juice. Bring to the boil over high heat. Whisk in remaining sugar and boil on high for 1 minute. (The mixture will bubble up vigorously, hence the big pot.) 
  6. Remove from heat. Stir and skim jelly for 2 or 3 minutes before pouring into prepared jars. Wipe lids of jars with a cloth or paper towel dipped in hot water before sealing. Screw rings on “finger tight.”
  7. Process filled jars in a boiling water bath for 12 minutes. 
  8. Remove jars from water, cool on a rack and listen for the pop that tells you the lids have sealed. Store any unsealed jars in the fridge and use jelly within a month. Sealed jars of jelly will keep in the cupboard for a year. 

Notes

A note on pectin: 

I’ve made my best jelly yet using Certo Light pectin crystals. The jelly is nicely set, the colour is a glowing lemony-amber, and the flavour is pure Yukon forest in the spring.

Certo Light is a low-methoxyl pectin that requires less sugar in the recipe for gelling. Too much sugar can overwhelm the taste of the spruce tips. 

The Canadian Living Test Kitchen advises that Certo Light and Bernardin No Sugar Needed Pectin can be used interchangeably—worth a try. 

Pomona’s Universal Pectin, another low-methoxyl pectin, uses both calcium and pectin powder in a two-step process; follow the directions in the box. (For this recipe you’ll need 3 tsp each of pectin powder and calcium water.)

https://whatsupyukon.com/yukon-food-drink/recipes/yukon-wild/its-spruce-tip-season/