This summer, I decided that I was going to start canning. I got a couple great books about small batch canning, a big pot with a rack in the bottom, and even one of those cute little “canning tool kits” (I’m no longer allowed to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond without supervision lol). My first experiment was a nectarine preserve with vanilla beans. It turned out better than I expected, with little yellow and white pieces of nectarine in a rosy pink jelly with flecks of vanilla bean. With the bean that I put in the jar, it is very vanilla.
But that’s not the recipe I’m writing about today. Today I’m talking about Beer Jelly. I’ve heard of wine jellies before, but with the rise of craft beer, I’ve been looking at ways to incorporate good beer into my cooking. To be honest, I chose Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat Beer to make jelly out of because I had some in my refrigerator. And it’s a good thing I did because this jelly is so fruity and complex tasting I’m going to be using it for a glaze on meat and veggies as well as putting it on oatmeal, toast, pancakes, or crackers. It’s super versatile.
Jelly is a pretty simple food. You take a liquid, usually fruit juice, and cook it with pectin to make a gel and put it in a jar. This jelly is even easier, since you just open a bottle. I also added a little orange juice to bring out the tangerine flavor in the beer, after all, this kind of beer is usually served with an orange slice anyway. The lemon juice is just to make sure that the acidity is high enough to make the jars shelf stable if you are doing a water bath can.
Note: This isn’t the clearest of jellies. If you want a nice crystal clear jelly, in addition to skimming the foam off the top of your pot, you want to filter your jelly through a jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth. Also, try not to move the jars until they are completely cool. It’s a very loose jelly. If you want a firmer set you should look into using a high sugar pectin, instead of the low sugar I used.
Sterilize jars and prepare lids
Measure beer, orange juice, and lemon juice into preserving pan. In separate bowl, mix pectin with 1/4 cup of your sugar. Set aside and keep dry.
Bring beer mix to a boil over high heat. Keep an eye on it, the foam tends to boil over very easily. Whisk liquid while sprinkling pectin mix over it. Use a spatula to break up any lumps of pectin and return to a boil.
Quickly stir in the rest of the sugar, making sure to break up any lumps and return to a strong boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim foam. ( You can leave the foam, and it kinda looks like the head of a glass of beer in your jar. )
Pour into jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Place lids on jars and screw bands on finger tight. Place in water bath and process for the time appropriate for your elevation. 0-1000 ft 5 min plus 1 min for every additional 1000 feet. I'm between 4000 and 5000 feet, so I processed for 8 minutes.
Remove from bath and set aside someplace where your jars won't be disturbed. Check the lids after an hour to make sure you have a good seal by pressing on the top. If you can press it down, your seal didn't take. Keep those jars (if any) in the refrigerator and use within 3 weeks.