Wine Jelly for Thanksgiving
Have you decided? Are you in a panic yet?
What are you going to take to Thanksgiving dinner?!?
Let’s face it, it matters. We’re no longer at the stage of life where we can just show up and eat. (Sigh.) We’re grownups, and we’re expected to show up dish in hand. And if we’re hosting the meal, we can only hope the other grownups do their part and bring something palatable to help fill the table.
When in doubt, bring wine.
And we aren’t saying just show up with a bottle, although you’ll find that almost universally welcomed. You want to wow ’em, and we’ve got the thing. Wine jelly.
It only requires the most basic ingredients: sugar, pectin, lemon juice, and wine. Making wine jelly is also a great way to turn a cheap bottle into a luxuriant treat. (Of course if you are willing to sacrifice a nicer bottle, it will only improve the jelly’s taste.)
We’re intrigued. Are you? Let’s see how we do this… (Big thanks to America’s Test Kitchen!)
Put 1 1/4 cup of wine into a small pan, and reduce it to 1/2 cup. Start this first, because it can take up to twenty minutes.
…reducing a portion of the bottle going into the jelly intensifies the wine’s flavor while cutting the booziness.
Pour the rest of the wine in a larger pan and add 3 1/2 cups of sugar. You’ll need to melt the sugar and bring it to a boil.
Thinking of cutting back on sweetness? Think again. Dialing it back too much will prevent your jelly from congealing.
You’ll need a thickening agent, so find pectin in your grocery store by the baking and canning supplies. Then add a taste of lemon juice, and a little bit of butter.
The butter seems weird, but there’s a reason. As the mixture boils, air bubbles rising to the surface create foam. Most recipes require skimming foam (it can cause problems when canning, plus it doesn’t look great), but I found the fat from a little butter allows the bubbles to surface, then disappear.
We like this part.
Lastly, I add the reduced wine to give the jelly a final punch of flavor.
At this point it will probably be pretty liquidy still, but thickening on your spoon or the edges of the pan.
Transfer your finished wine jelly to jars and let cool to room temperature, then pop them in the fridge.
That’s it? Is it that easy?
It can’t be that easy.
Just remember that sometimes it takes up to 24 hours for the wine mixture to gel and really look like jelly. You just gotta be patient.
Ah. Be patient. There’s the hard part. We knew there was a catch! But after being patient…
And we’re finally to the good part. In just about twenty-four hours.
Which means you’ve still got time to pull this off for Thanksgiving. Hit the store for some cheese and crackers, and you’re showing up with a sophisticated board that’s going to look great next to the turkey! (It’s going to look especially amazing next to the three green bean casseroles and two store-bought pies the others brought, if ya know what we’re saying!)
And we’re thinking… the recipe is red wine, and looks out of this world. But we’re also going to try this with Windswept White! Give it a shot! And let us know what wine you used, and how it turns out!