Thursday, March 18, 2010

Roasted Garlic and Candied Ginger Jelly

I had to do an allium jelly, you know. I did not take the carrot jelly challenge (for last month's Tigress' Can Jam) so this month I had to do one. Of course there are so many choices! I went with roasted garlic because I forgot how much I loved it, and the candied ginger jumped in at the last minute. I remember when I worked at Pizzicato in Portland, OR many moons ago I would bake off trays and trays of roasted garlic. Gooey and oozing their caramelized sweet and mellow goodness. We would bake bread with extra pizza dough and have it for lunch with some salad. The candied ginger was an after-thought, but a good one. Of course everyone knows that ginger and garlic are great friends.

I had some difficulty with this jelly, though. It wasn't all sweet smelling garlic and chewy morsels of ginger in a perfectly set jammy consistency. No, it was a syrup to begin with. Let me explain: I wanted to do this jelly with just apples providing the pectin. But for a bunch of reasons it didn't set well. Here are the reasons:

1. My apples were old. I needed to use them up, and I knew this might hurt my set.

2. They were not super tart. The tarter the apple, the higher the pectin content. Again, I knew.

3. It was raining, and had been for days. Read this great article by Annette from Sustainable Eats on Canning Across America on how weather affects the gel stage.

4. And, I usually can at night, but I was doing this during my son's nap, so I sort of rushed it even though I didn't get to 220 degrees. It seemed to be setting and was dripping off the spoon nicely, but, well, no dice. I rushed it. It was taking forever! I'm so impatient.

Although I could have left this as a syrup/glaze and it would have just been fine, I sort of wanted a jelly. I had some Pomona pectin around, so I re-processed the batch. I rarely do this. But I also wanted to try the Pomona. I never had before! I've been relying on high-pectin fruit and apples for jams and jellies for the past few years, with the occasional commercial pectin. For some stupid reason I always thought Pomona would be a pain with the calcium water and all. (Pomona comes with two packets. One to make the calcium water which activates the pectin, unlike other pectins that need sugar to make the pectin work.) It worked like a charm. I didn't notice a chalky taste as some people claim to find with Pomona. And did you know they have a jam hotline, or as they call it a "jamline?" And it's also sold in bulk. Check out their website. And who can resist their pretty packages?

2 cups of apple pectin stock
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 T lemon juice
3 heads of roasted garlic
2 T candied/crystallized ginger, chopped
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/2 t salt

1 t calcium water
1 t pectin

Heat apple extract, lemon juice and sugar in a pot and begin to dissolve. Mix garlic with ginger, vinegar, salt and stir into apple mixture. Add calcium water. Bring to a boil. Take a few tablespoons of the mixture into a bowl and add the pectin, stir well avoiding clotting. Add back to boiling mixture and stir well for one or two minutes to thoroughly dissolve pectin. Bring back to boil and remove from heat. Fill hot jars with the jelly leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in boiling water bath for ten minutes.

N.B. I didn't use the Pomona exactly the way they direct you to. I went my own way hoping it would work and it did. I didn't veer entirely off-course, but be warned.

I know its ridiculous to take a picture of my jelly outside, but it's been so gorgeous out! Look at my little mini-daffs in the background. Are they sunshine-y, or what? Oh, for the love of spring!


  1. So much good information on pectin: I've never used any, I guess I don't can that many jams and those I do haven't needed it, but I'm sure that will change as the can jam progresses and I'm so glad to be armed with some knowledge so I know where to start!

  2. Great info from Annette on the boiling point of water; I never thought of that, but I've noticed a fluctuation in the boiling temp of water. One of my jam cookbooks (Gourmet Preserves of Chez Madeline) terms the set point as "8 degrees above the temperature of boiling water on your thermometer", which, on a normal day should be 220 F. But I think it's a better way of putting it (which I sometimes do in my recipes, but often get lazy and just say "220 F.")

    I often find a little extra acid can help the set of a jam that is looking suspiciously loose; sometimes I'll add an extra T of lemon juice at the end, boil for another minute and keep fingers crossed. Sometimes that little bump in acid can encourage the set.

  3. hip girls was also just talking about pectin from apples--what's going on?!

    Glad I saw your post about the pomona. I have some but I think I would have been in for trouble if I hadn't realized it was different to use than regular pectins. Like you, I am sometimes a bit rushed/impatient as a result of a toddler--and with #2 any day now, not getting any better. Yet to be seen if I manage the april can jam ;-)

  4. Talia - I hope it's helpful! I've been thinking about pectin wayyyy more than a normal person should.

    Kaela - Isn't that a great little article? I always get lazy and say 220 degrees! But anyone with a few jams and jellies under their belt will know that it is an intuitive thing, in some ways. Interesting on the acid tip. I will try it.

    Sara - It's in the air! Yes, Pomona is different but really not that complicated. I had a block in my head. So: I guess you get a lot done during nap time, huh?? Didn't know you had a little one already!

  5. So glad to see a garlic jelly success -- despite the pectin dance. You should have seen the look on S's face after he took a whiff of my failed attempt. There was no way he was even going to taste it.

    I've only ever used Pomona pectin in jams, never the regular kind. I got started that way because I learned from a friend who uses it. A couple of times I ended up with some chalky taste in my berries, but that's because I overdid it. I've had a consistently positive experience with Pomona, and I love how it lets you cut the sugar so you taste more of the fruit. In fact, I think I'll do something with it tomorrow!

  6. Back again with a practical question. When you used the Pomona in this "off-label" way, did you do anything to prevent it from clumping? After saying I've had only positive experiences with Pomona (which I do love), I tried to use it for a last-minute save on a too-soft set, and the results weren't good at all. I mixed it with a little sugar before I added it, but still, I ended up with alarming lumps. Boo. Any tips?

  7. Shae - You know what I did? I pulled a few spoonfuls of hot jelly from the pan into a bowl, added the pectin, stirred it up well, then returned that to the pot. It worked well for me this time, we'll see what happens the next time. I thought the idea of whizzing it in the processor was a drag--clean up and all. I'm sooo lazy. A lot of my recipes revolve around how I can make less dishes.

  8. That's exactly what I needed to know, and a really smart tip. I'm filing it away for next time, because of course there will be a next time.