Choosing which herb to use for your jelly is simple – just pick whatever grows in abundance! I like to use basil – everyone's favorite herb – or lemon scented herbs such as lemon verbena, lemon thyme or pineapple sage. I've also made mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram, and cilantro jellies – all are different and wonderful.
To make herb jelly, gather about 2 cups of your favorite fresh herb leaves. Wash and drain them, then coarsely chop and put in a medium saucepan. Use the bottom of a glass to crush and macerate the leaves. Add 2 cups of water, bring slowly to a boil, and boil for just 10 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes to release the herb leaves essential flavor.
Strain 1 1/2 cups of this liquid from the pan and pour through the strainer again into another large, deep saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons of plain (unseasoned) rice vinegar (if you can't find rice vinegar, use regular distilled vinegar), a pinch of salt and 3 1/2 cups of granulated sugar. Bring the mixture to a hard boil, stirring constantly. When the boil can't be stirred down, add 3 ounces of liquid pectin. (I use Certo brand which comes in 3 pre-measured ounce foil packets.) Return to a hard boil that can't be stirred down and boil for exactly one minute, then remove saucepan from the heat.
Skim off any foam and pour the hot jelly into 4 hot, sterilized 1/2 pint jelly jars. Leave 1/2 inch head space and seal at once with sterilized 2 piece canning lids or melted paraffin. I often make 2 or 3 kinds of these jellies to give as little sets. One of my favorite trios is opal basil jelly, which comes out a gorgeous garnet color; green basil, which comes out a lovely green; and lemon thyme, which is a delicate golden-green hue.
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