I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a wine newbie. I really enjoy wine and drink it on a somewhat regular basis, but I do feel that the “wino” label should be reserved for those who can appreciate wine for more than just its color. When I finally started drinking wine, albeit after 4 years of living in Sonoma on top of spending a semester abroad in France, I like many others fell for the chilled sweet essence of white wine. Easy to drink, tastes like candy, and feels like summer.
Marisa from Food in Jars recently blogged a post about achieving an ideal gel set using a thermometer. I had been using the saucer and sheet tests to determine gel set, but neither of those methods were delivering reliable results. I figured I’d give the thermometer method a try with the hope that I’d see more consistent optimal jelly sets. Aside from it feeling more like science… the benefit of using a thermometer in jelly/jam/marmalade making is that the gel set can be determined based on internal temperature. At 220° Fahrenheit, sugar reaches its gel point to which it undergoes a physical transformation and thickens to the desired spreadable consistency. I had to calibrate my new thermometer first by testing it in boiling water, but overall the method proved most effective.
- 3-1/4 cup Riesling wine (1 bottle)
- 6 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 package Certo liquid pectin
- 4 cups white sugar
- 4 cloves (optional)
- 1 Tbsp berry juice (optional)
- In a large-sized, non-reactive, wide mouthed pot, combine, wine, lemon juice, liquid pectin, and optional berry juice. Bring to a boil.
- Whisk in sugar. Bring to a rapid boil. Boil for an additional 2-3 minutes or until set (determine this by either testing the temperature (will set at 220 F), or the cold saucer test (put saucer into freezer 15 minutes before test, apply 1 tsp of jelly to middle of saucer, let set for 30 seconds, nudge edge of jelly with finger, if surface wrinkles it is ready).
- Ladle jelly into hot, sterilized jars, wipe rims, apply lids and rings (finger tight) and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
- Remove from canner, let set for 12-24 hours on folded towel on counter (this time may vary due to pectin setting).
If using optional cloves, steep them in a mesh tea ball or cheesecloth while wine mixture is boiling. Take out before adding sugar.