A jar of port wine jelly makes a wonderful homespun gift! It goes well with savory main dishes, but it’s also good simply spread on toast.
It’s my tradition to make a big batch of port wine jelly around the Christmas holiday. I give them as gifts, but I also make it just for me. I enjoy it so much because it goes with everything. You can serve it as a side next to roast turkey, or spoon it over a log of goat cheese for an appetizer. You can use it to top brie en croute, or just enjoy it on some good multi grain toast. It’s so versatile!
New to Canning? No Problem!
This is a great recipe for beginners who haven’t had much experience canning. It’s so simple and although I use a few pieces of special equipment, you can totally get by without most canning-specific tools. But you will need to get some half pint canning jars with lids and bands. You can usually find these at the grocery store in the canning section. You’ll also need tongs or a rubber-coated jar lifter. I highly recommend the latter. It’s an inexpensive tool that will save you from burns.
Sterilize the jars and lids in a pot of boiling water. The jars and lids will dry almost immediately when you remove them from the hot water.
You’ll need two pouches (1 box) of liquid pectin for this recipe, you can also find it at the grocery store right next to the canning jars. Mix the port wine jelly ingredients in a big pot and bring it to a hard boil. After about a minute of cooking, stir in the pectin. While the jelly is still hot, pour it into the sterilized jars. Be sure to wipe the rims of each filled jar with a damp cloth before lidding. This will help ensure the jars seal properly.
The jelly jars will need to be immersed into a simmering water bath that completely covers their tops. I use a canning set with a rack, but you could simply put the jars in a large pot without a rack.
After about 10 minutes in a water bath, the jars are removed to cool. As the jars stand, you should hear the lids pop. This means they are sealing – yay! If you’re like me you’ll do a little happy dance each time a jar pops.
I’ve already been giving these jars away to friends and family, and I’ve been enjoying my fair share on toast for breakfast! It’s such a nice addition to any kind of meal centered around the holidays.
Port Wine Jelly
- 8 half pint (240 ml) jars
- 4 cups port wine
- 1/2 cup 120ml lemon juice
- 6 cups 1200 grams granulated sugar
- 2 pouches 177 ml liquid fruit pectin
Prepare the jars
- Remove lids and neckbands from jars and set aside. Fill a stock pot three quarters full with water and bring to a rolling boil on high heat. Using rubber-coated jar lifting tongs, dip each jar in boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove each jar and invert onto a clean dry hand towel. Repeat this process with lids and neckbands, using regular tongs. Once the jars and lids are removed from the water, they should dry almost immediately from the heat. Make sure they are all completely dry before filling jars. Discard boiling water, rinse pot with cool water and wipe out. Use the same pot to make the jelly.
Make the jelly
- Place the wine, lemon juice and sugar in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir slowly and constantly with a large spoon. Keep on a hard boil for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in pectin until ingredients are thoroughly combined, skimming off any bubbles or foam. Note: stir at a slow pace to prevent bubbles from forming. Don’t stir vigorously or whisk.
- While mixture is still hot, ladle into clean half pint jars leaving about 1/4 inch (6mm) headroom in each one. A skin will form on the jelly liquid as it cools in the pot, so stir as needed to keep it from setting up during this process. Wipe rims of jars with a damp towel as you fill them and cover each with lid, and close with a neckband and tighten. Using a water bath canning pot with a rack or the same stock pot used for sterilizing jars, submerge filled jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let jars sit in water for at least 5 minutes. Carefully remove jars from water using jar-lifting tongs and place onto a heat-proof surface to cool. You will hear the canning lids pop as they each seal. After about 30 minutes, check each jar to make sure the top centers have been pulled downward and sealed. If you don’t think the jar has sealed, reprocess in the boiling water, or refrigerate and eat within 3 weeks.
- Store sealed jelly in a cool dry place, and refrigerate after opening.