A recipe for Apple Jelly with Ceylon Strong Breakfast Tea caught my eye right away. It was inspiring and thrilling to think I could make jelly with tea. It opened up a whole world of new flavors to experiment with. I used Earl Grey because I think bergamot is heavenly. Stayman Winesap and MacIntosh were my apples. My patience payed off, as the jelly came out perfect and crystal clear. It still needs time to set, so I haven't had it yet, but when it was hot and I licked a few spoons clean (part of the job, ma'am) it was delicate, subtle--the tea leaves and bergamot coming out ever so gently.
Earl Grey Tea Jelly
3 1/4 pounds of apples, the tarter and fresher the better, Granny Smiths are good if you are not living in the land and season of great apples.
6 cups of water plus 7 ounces
4 cups of sugar
2 Tbsp. of lemon juice
4 bags of Earl Grey tea
Chop apples into quarters and place in a good, heavy pot with the 6 cups of water. Once it boils, let it simmer on low for a half hour until the apples are quite soft. Then filter the juice through a sieve with a fine mesh, a chinois if you will, pressing lightly on the fruit. I like to leave this for a few hours to take its time. Then filter a second time through cheesecloth; it's best to do this overnight in the fridge. I used coffee filters in a mesh colander and it worked fine.
Measure 4 1/4 cups of the juice leaving sediment at the bottom. Add this and the sugar and lemon juice in to your good pot and bring to a boil. Now, about jelly, you know, it's not just jam. It's a little fussier, so keep an eye on it. I highly recommend a candy thermometer because testing for the jelling point is difficult. You want to bring the heat up to 220 degrees. Skim it good; it's not like jam where the foam sometimes disappears. It's persistent foam! While you are fretting over the jelling point, make the tea infusion with 7 ounces of boiling water and let steep for three minutes. Don't over steep because it will be bitter. I waited until the temperature was 219, added the tea, and then returned it to 220, which took more time than I thought--the seven ounces really does change the temperature--and then it's jellytime!
Pour the hot liquid into your hot jars, that just happened to be in the boiling water that you had waiting for processing. Seal them and process for ten minutes. (By process, I mean let them sit in boiling water for ten minutes.)
P.S. A word about canning safety: Ferber didn't process her jars. I did. That doesn't mean I'm necessarily safe from bacterial bugaboos. Technically, you should check all of your recipes with some tester, but I'm somewhere between French laissez-faire and American Puritanism, and generally I just feel my way around. Just so you know.