Have you ever thought to capture the flavor of your herb garden in jellies? Fresh herbs make wonderful gourmet-style jellies, and their flavors are great accompaniments for just about any kind of roasted meat – even veggies. You can use all kinds of herbs, and the best part: Jellies are easy to make!

Herbs on cutting board

A creative combo of fresh rosemary, garlic and parsley makes a delicious herb jelly.

Photo Credit: Lynn Means

Brewing herbs for jelly

You can easily brew an herbal fusion with an iced tea maker.

Photo Credit: Lynn Means

Prepared for jelly making

Set up everything you need to jar your jelly next to your stove top so you’re ready to go when it is.

Photo Credit: Lynn Means

Wiping edges of jelly jars

Wipe syrup or drips off of the edges of the jars with a damp cloth or paper towel to ensure a tight seal.

Photo Credit: Lynn Means

Filled herb jelly jars

Your herb jelly will be delicious with roasted meats and vegetables, or spread it on crackers with cream cheese for a wonderful appetizer!

Photo Credit: Lynn Means

Basic Herb Jelly

This recipe should make enough for 4 half-pint jars.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of your favorite fresh herb leaves or herb flowers1
  • 2 cups water, clear juice or wine
  • ¼ cup lemon juice or white vinegar2
  • 1-2 drops of food coloring (optional)
  • 4 cups sugar or honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 ounces liquid fruit pectin
  1. The following herbs or their flowers can be used in this recipe: scented basils, beebalm, chamomile, chive blossom, fennel, garlic, ginger, lavender, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, marjoram, mint, parsley, rosemary, rose petals (white heel removed), savory, scented geranium, sweet woodruff, tarragon or thyme
  2. White or balsamic vinegar can be substituted for all or part of the lemon juice for a tangy, sweet flavor that’s complimentary to meat and cheese dishes.

Start by placing half-pint jelly jars in the dishwasher and wash at regular cycle, leaving them on “heated dry” until you’re ready to fill them. (If you don’t have a dishwasher, sterilize the jars by boiling for 10 minutes and leave them in hot water until you’re ready to fill with cooked jelly.) Place the flat metal lids in a small pot of hot, but not boiling, water to clean the lid and soften the gummed seal. Keep warm on low heat for at least 5 minutes, and let them soak until you’re ready to seal the jars.

The easiest way to make the jelly is to use an iced tea maker (but you can also use a saucepan). Clean and chop your herbs in a blender or food processor on low speed, just long enough to break up the leaves. Place a filter in the basket of the iced tea maker and fill with the chopped leaves. Pour 2 cups of water (or clear juice or wine) into the dispenser tank and set brew strength to “strong,” or partially plug the drain opening to extend the brew time. When complete, press and wring water out of the leaves and filter.

If you don’t have a iced tea maker, you can brew it on your stove top instead. Just wash the herbs, chop coarsely and put in a medium saucepan. Add water (or clear juice or wine) and bring to a consistent boil for 10 seconds. Remove from heat, cover and let stand until completely cooled. Strain 1½ cups of the liquid through a coffee filter or layered cheesecloth, pressing the flavor from the leaves with a wooden spoon or vegetable masher.

Pour the liquid, which is now an “herbal infusion,” into a large pot or Dutch oven and stir in the vinegar (or lemon juice), salt and sugar. Heat the mixture to a hard boil (a boil that can’t be stirred down), then add the liquid pectin and continue to boil for exactly 1 minute.

Remove from heat, then skim off any foam and discard it.

Pour the hot jelly immediately into your clean half-pint jelly jars, filling them no more than ½ an inch from the top. Wipe the rims of the jars and seal with the two-piece canning lids or paraffin. Tip the covered jars upside down for a few seconds to coat the inside and create a seal. Place right side up on a heatproof surface and let cool. Label each jar with the type of jelly contents, as well as the date, and store it for up to one year in a cool, dark place.

If you’d like to change up the basic recipe a bit, here are a few delicious suggestions for herb-and-fruit juice jellies:

  • Add 2 tablespoons cloves to your sweet basil infusion.
  • Add vinegar for all or part of the lemon juice in a fennel jelly.
  • Use red grape juice in your lemon balm jelly.
  • Use white grape juice with your lemon thyme jelly.
  • Try lemonade in your lemon verbena jelly.
  • Use grapefruit juice in your marjoram jelly.
  • Try apple juice in your mint jelly.
  • Use water or dry white wine in your parsley jelly.
  • Incorporate some balsamic vinegar into your rosemary jelly.
  • Cider or apple juice is great in sage jelly.
  • Try cranberry juice in savory jelly.
  • Water or apple juice is good in scented geranium jelly.
  • Try some white wine in your sweet woodruff jelly.
  • White wine or water with vinegar is great in tarragon jelly.
  • Add purple grape juice in your thyme jelly.
  • For a tangy twist, use cherry juice with ¼ cup of cinnamon or tangerine juice and ¼ cup crushed cloves to any herb jelly.

From the simple to the sublime, even meat-and-potato lovers will get a kick out of these delicious herb condiments. Spread your herb jelly on cream cheese and crackers, or use it as a glaze on roasted lamb, pork, poultry or fish entrees. Adding several spoonfuls to an oil and vinegar salad dressing or meat marinade will really give your food that “wow” flavor.

So when it’s time for something different and wonderful – and you’re not sure what else to do with your abundant herbal harvest – spice up your cuisine with a new herb jelly!