Goodness. It’s almost Valentine’s Day. That unbelievably commercial day celebrating that least commercial of things – looove.
It’s not that I don’t believe in love. Because I do, I do, I do. I believe in it big time. Make it big love. Put your whole being into it. Write poetry, make something fantastic in the kitchen, drink some really great wine. Buy books. Send love to everyone you know and care about. Make art. Make cakes. Make love.
Just please, don’t buy the roses. They’re not in season in most of North America. The vast majority are grown on horrendous sweat shop farms in Central and South America, using child labour and an array of nasty chemicals. Then they’re flown and trucked for thousands of miles. And (I’m not done yet) they’re grown on arable land that should be used for the safe production of food. In short, they are, at the very least, a minor ecological disaster. Don’t get me started on greeting cards…. I won’t go on. Because really, this is not very romantic.
For the past two years, I’ve posted the recipe for my beloved late mother-in-law’s sugar cookies along with that most gorgeous of poems, the one by e.e.cummings, “I carry your heart with me.” I said that I’d keep posting the same thing forever.
Then this happened; I made this wonderful red wine jelly. And I like it so much that I’m posting it instead.
Four ingredients and twenty minutes and you’ve got yourself a wonderful jelly that works equally well with either savouries like a cheese platter or a turkey sandwich; or sweets like waffles or crepes. Or pile it atop toast and peanut butter. Maybe on a bagel with cream cheese. Or serve it like I did here, on Welsh griddle cakes. It would be good too, for dessert, on a sophisticated cake, perhaps along the lines of an Olive Oil and Rosemary Cake, along with some whipped cream.
If you buy the smallest mason jars (125 ml in Canada) you can make about 12 jars of this jelly out of one bottle (plus 1/4 cup more) of wine, making it so easy to spread the love.
So instead of the bringing the roses (and all the thorny issues that go along with them), bring somebody a jar of this jelly and a wedge of some gorgeous cheese, and a bottle of wine. Love in the kitchen. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Red Wine Jelly
- 3 1/4 cups wine (you can use red, white, or rose or a mix. I used a Cabernet Sauvignon which resulted in a beautifully coloured jelly. NB. One bottle will not be enough. You will need to have a little from a second bottle – anything will do! I used a splash of a Pinot noir sitting on the counter to make up the extra 1/4 cup of wine needed)
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 box of fruit pectin crystals (such as Certo or equivalent. My box was 57 grams but I think they are pretty universally standard)
- 4 cups sugar
First, sterilize the jars, lids, and sealers by whatever method you choose. I washed them thoroughly with hot soapy water, then rinsed and drained. Then I put them in the oven at 275 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, bring the wine, lemon juice and pectin to the boil in a large stainless steel pan, stirring frequently.
Once the mixture is at a full boil, add the sugar and continue stirring. Bring back to a full rolling boil, stirring the entire time, and set the timer for 2 minutes. Leave heat at medium-high – stir for the entire two minutes.
Once the timer goes off, remove from the heat immediately and pour into the sterilized jars. Seal asap and then set the jars aside for 24 hours where they can sit without being disturbed.