I spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen yesterday running 3 batches of wild herbal jelly. Mint, Dandelion, and Spruce Tip. What excited me the most was processing some freshly collected spruce tips into jelly. A few weeks back I was sharing some of my dandelion jelly with our friends and they spoke of a traditional dutch jelly made with spruce tips, which had me intrigued. Then a few days ago our local master herbalist was teaching some medicine making techniques and she too mentioned spruce tip jelly, luckily my wild-crafting partner in crime here at the homestead was setting off to Alberta on a harvesting adventure and she keenly returned home with a batch of fresh tender spruce tips ready for canning. Yeah.
So the plan was to thaw out the dandelion juice I made a few weeks back and put off canning because the weather turned grey and cloudy, make a fresh batch of spruce tip jelly, and finally give some mint jelly a go… I love mint jelly on roast lamb or beef, and I thought a mint jelly would be a nice starting point for some mint sauce. I opted however to make mojito jelly by adding some fresh lime juice to the batch, the next roast beast dinner might call for some rum!
Here is the story of and recipe for spruce tip jelly making …
Start with 4 cups of freshly collected tender spruce tip buds, remove any sticky “papery” bits, and give them a quick rinse in cold water. In a pot bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then add spruce tips and reduce heat to a gentle simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Don’t mash or stir, just let the tips rest in the water, someplace cool overnight.
The next day carefully strain tips and bits from the juice.
Place 4 cups of juice in a heavy bottom pot and bring to a boil. Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice along with 4 tsp Pomona’s calcium water.
Add 2 cups of organic cane sugar mixed with 4 tsp of Pomona’s pectin powder to pot and allow to thicken, stirring often and skimming any froth that might form.
Once your jelly is set to your likeness using your favorite jelly test, portion into 6 small sterilized jars, and hot water bath process for 10 minutes.
The spruce tip jelly tastes of spring and citrus, rain, vitality and the forest all in one simply sweet bite. High in vitamin C and electrolytes this jelly is also a nice immune booster.