Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spruce Tip Jelly

Have I mentioned I love PBS?  Great programming where you can learn something.  Best of all you don't have to be bombarded with commercials, sexual talk at early hours while the children are watching or lots of violence.

I was watching Kitchen Vignettes online and saw this video about Spruce Tip Jelly.  What a great idea.  I have spruce in my backyard.  I love the idea that they can give us food.  Did you know spruce tips are packed with Vitamin C.  Yes!  I am making this.

Spring came, I was armed and ready to do this jelly. I read online that it would taste like grapefruit, citrusy.  You do add quite a bit of lemon and of course you do taste that but there is another flavor that comes through.  I am not sure what I would compare it to, maybe grapefruit no matter, I love the flavor. My husband loved it on his pancakes!

If you want to make this jelly, you will need to do a little research about the kind of tree you have access to to make it.  You don't want to use an Alberta Domesticated Spruce.  So here at Michigan State University is where I did my research.  Apparently different conifers have different flavors.  I found information on those through The Splendid Table and The Examiner.

I could not find Pomona's Pectin so I used regular powder pectin.  I ended up with a soft set.  Which is okay because I probably will use it for a glaze for meat. But then it is pretty good on pancakes. You may have to experiment with pectin to get the set you want.  If you don't mind more sugar in your jelly and want to use regular powder pectin, refer to this recipe at The Last Frontier.  Or you can order the Pomona's Pectin.  I am sure you could get it online.

This recipe is my adaptation of her recipe.  I ended up with six pints.

6 cups spruce tips
6 cups water
3 cups cane sugar
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
packet of dry powder pectin

Take all the little yellow hulls off the Spruce tips.
  Chop Spruce tips.  Place in stock pot and bring to a boil.

Let it boil hard for three minutes.

Then let it sit until it reaches room temperature.  I let it sit longer, like about four hours.

Strain the Spruce tips, reserving the liquid.  Place back in clean stock pot and add the lemon juice. Bring to a boil.  Once it is boiling add in liquid pectin or a 1/2 cup sugar mixed with powder pectin. Bring back to a boil. Let boil for a full minute.  Turn off heat.  At this point you can test the set by using a very cold spoon.  Put a couple drops of the liquid jelly on to the spoon.  If ti thickens then you will have thickened jelly.  If not, you probably are not going to have a good set.

Ladle jelly into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight. Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude if need be. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.  If they do go up and down when pressed store in refrigerator and use it up.  If the lid is depressed and stays depressed then it is properly sealed.  You can store it in a cool, dry and dark place.  

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