As you know, I not only love tea, but I have a thing for canning as well. It seemed natural, then, to make some tea jelly with some of the tea that Mighty Leaf was kind enough to send me.
I should point out that this was my first attempt at making jelly. So I didn’t know exactly how it was supposed to look when it was done. I kept boiling it, expecting it to move past the syrupy stage. It burned a little in the end, but I thought it would just give it an unfortunate caramelized taste.
Apparently, I should have remembered my candy making labs from college. I definitely let the temperature get too high, passing the mixture far past the jelly stage. Everything seemed fine last night, but when I went to use some of the jelly this morning, I found this:
Um, yeah. I don’t think it can be called jelly if a spoon can’t break through the surface.
Microwaving on high for 30 seconds helped a little, but not enough.
Still sticky and super-thick. And re-hardening by the second.
Let’s try this again, shall we?
Hey look, it has the texture of jelly! Woohoo!
Since this makes only 1 1/2 pints, I decided not to can it. I figure it will be gone pretty quickly anyways! It should be fine in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. But if you do want it to be shelf-stable for a longer time period or want to store it at room temperature until you are ready to eat it, I've included directions for canning as well.
- 9 bags of tea (I used [Mighty Leaf's Vanilla Bean Black tea|http://www.mightyleaf.com/tea-pouches_flavored-black-tea/vanilla-bean-black-tea-pouches/)
- 4 1/4 c water (36 fl.oz.)
- 3 c sugar
- 1 packet pectin
- 1/4 c bottled lemon juice
- If you are canning: Prepare the jars for canning. Wash the jars and flat lids with hot, soapy water. Put the jars in the canning pot and fill the pot with hot water. Heat over medium-high heat to keep the jars hot. Place the lids in a heat-proof bowl.
- Bring 2 1/4 c water to a boil. While you wait, place all 9 tea bags into a large stockpot. Cover with the boiling water and steep for 4-5 minutes.
- Savvy Tip: If you use green, oolong or white tea, steep for 1-3 minutes instead.
- Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and a film starts to form on the top. This should take 25-35 minutes, and the temperature should be between 216 and 220*F.
- Savvy Tip: Watch the temperature CAREFULLY. It will sit at 212 or 213*F for what feels like ages, and then suddenly rise those last few degrees. If you stop when the temperature is still below 216*F, it will not gel properly. If you let the temperature surpass 220*F, it will harden like my "caramel" above.
- If you are canning: Move some of the boiling water from the canning pot into the heat-proof bowl containing the lids. Line the hot jars up on a folded towel, then pour the water out of the heat-proof bowl and off the lids.
- If not canning: Pour into container. Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate.
- If canning: Fill the jars up to ¼” below the rim. Use a clean towel to wipe any preserves off the rims, then top each jar with a lid and a tightened ring. Place the jars back in the canning pot and make sure they are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and process for 5 minutes. Place the jars on a folded towel and allow to sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Check the seals of the lids after 1 hour. If a seal has not formed, refrigerate the jar immediately.
Want to make your own tea jelly? Just want some tea? Don’t forget to enter my Mighty Leaf Tea giveaway!