If you want a slightly citrusy, wild jelly (that doubles as an awesome glaze for wild game), make a batch of this spruce tip jelly! This recipe is a small batch requiring only three cups of spruce tips and makes four or five 125ml jars.
3 cups fresh spruce tips
2 1/2 cups cold water
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 1/2 tbsp low-sugar pectin*
3/4 cup cane sugar**
Gather approximately three cups of fresh spruce tips. You will want to remove the brown, papery husk from the tips of them and rinse under cold water. To release as much flavour as possible, roughly chop up the spruce tips.
Combine the chopped spruce tips and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. You will want to boil until the tips change from green to grayish brown (approximately four minutes) and then remove from heat. Let the mixture cool to room temperature and then strain the liquid out – first through a fine mesh strainer to remove all large needles, followed by a second strain through a coffee filter or cheesecloth to get any remaining little bits out of the liquid. You will end up with two cups of spruce juice!
Now it is time to make the jelly. In a heavy-bottomed pot, combine the two cups of spruce juice, one tablespoon of lemon juice and three-and-a-half tablespoons of low sugar (or no sugar needed) pectin. Bring to a rolling boil. Add cane sugar and bring back to a full rolling boil for two minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Fill sterilized canning jars to within a quarter-inch of the rim. Use a plastic utensil to remove any bubbles from the jelly and wipe the rims clean. Tighten lids fingertip tight and process in a water bath canner. If you are not planning on canning the jelly, you can store it in the fridge for several weeks.
*You can also use regular pectin in place of the low-sugar pectin, although in the past I have had troubles with the jelly setting when using regular pectin.
**If using low-sugar pectin, you can play around with different sweeteners, such as honey, according to the directions that come with the pectin you use.
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