You know what? Canning in the winter is quite enjoyable. I need to do more of it. Especially when the temperature drops, standing next to three boiling pots on the stove is quite lovely. A nice change from the frigid depths of the living room.
Earlier this year I received a note from Tom of Singer Farm Naturals, who found one of my posts touting the deliciousness of garlic scapes (which, I agree, are underutilized). Tom offered to send me a sampling of his organic garlic varieties (he grows over 20 unique varieties). How could I say no?
When the box came just this past week, I was overwhelmed. Think about it. You buy garlic in little mesh bags in the grocery store. It’s just garlic. Plain old, generic garlic. It’s not like apples, there are no options… garlic is garlic. Or so I thought.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. Ever since the fragrant box arrived, we’ve been exploring the varieties like fine wines. Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil, garlicky spinach soup, classic garlic bread…
Anyone have a breath mint?
But I wanted to do something that would really highlight the garlic. And I wasn’t quite sure what that would be, until I saw this:
Smoked Gouda and garlic jam.
It was a comment left on the Kerry Gold giveaway post by Michelle, describing her ultimate grilled cheese. I saw the words “garlic jam” and I knew I had it. Thanks, Michelle, for the inspiration I needed!
While I couldn’t find any recipes for garlic jam, recipes for garlic jelly were all over, including in my canning bible, which had a recipe for Roasted Garlic Jelly that I ended up using. I made two batches, one featuring the Lorz Italian variety of garlic, and the other featuring Persian Star. Both delicious, both garlicky and wonderfully rich, and oh so slightly different. While I think the varieties are best distinguished in their raw forms, (garlic tasting party, anyone?), this jelly is a real treat.
Yes, indeed. I think this will make one fine grilled cheese.
Roasted Garlic Jelly
Makes 9 4-oz. jars. Recipe from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
- 3 medium heads garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, divided
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 (3oz) pouches liquid pectin
- Using a sharp knife, cut off tops of garlic heads, exposing cloves. Place each head on a small square of aluminum foil set on a baking sheet. Top each head with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar. Scrunch foil loosely around garlic heads and roast in preheated oven until garlic is golden and very soft, 45 to 60 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Separate cloves, pinching each one to extract the soft roasted garlic. Discard skins.
- In a medium stainless steel saucepan, combine roasted garlic, wine, water, white balsamic vinegar and peppercorns. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes.
- Transfer garlic mixture to a strainer lined with several layers of dampened cheesecloth or a dampened coffee filter set over a deep bowl. Let drip, undisturbed, for about 30 minutes. Measure 1 2/3 cups garlic juice. If you do not have the required amount, add up to 1/4 cup dry white wine or water. (This step can be done up to one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate juice until ready to use).
- Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars, and lids.
- Transfer garlic juice to a large, deep stainless steel saucepan. Stir in lemon juice and sugar. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir in pectin. Return to a boil and boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam.
- Quickly pour hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.
- Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool, and store.
This is one situation where garlic breath is actually a good thing.