So it turns out there are more than just two ways to use basil. For as long as I can remember, I've only really used basil to compliment tomatoes or in pesto. And while both of those uses totally rock my summer lovin' world, that just felt limiting.
Naturally, I turned to Pinterest.
And behold...more fun ideas!
Despite pinning 4 million recipes, I rarely make jam or jelly. I just don't use a lot of it. And jelly tends to be more fussy (in my opinion). There's less wiggle room in that it needs to jell properly. Jam and preserves are expected to be looser and chunky. But jelly...it needs to look just right!
Well the first go I had at this recipe, did not result in properly jelled jelly. It wasn't a sauce either. It was somewhere in between. But it tasted fan-freakin-tastic! I used one jar (that did jell more in the fridge) several ways and knew I needed to get this thing down pat.
I found several recipes online and some called for liquid pectin and others powder pectin. I have strong opinions on this issue. I DO NOT LIKE liquid pectin. I have tried both brands that my grocery store carries many, many times. And I think it gives products a distinctive after taste. Dislike! I know other canners have the opposite opinion and that's OK. We can all add our own personal touches to recipes. But you will not find me using recipes with liquid pectin. If I take this much time to make something, I don't want a weird after taste, thankyouverymuch.
So anyway, I re-did the entire batch. Well...minus that one small jar I already used up for testing purposes. And added more pectin.
Here is the adjusted recipe that I will use in the future.
* 2 cups packed basil
* 3 cups boiling water
* 3 cups sugar
* 1/4 cup lemon juice (bottled)
* 3-5 tbls powder pectin (start with 3..I needed 5)
* 1-3 drops green food coloring (optional)
* Rough chop basil and add to a glass dish. Top with boiling water. Cover with cloth and let steep for 15 minutes.
* Clean and sterilize your jars and lids properly while basil is steeping. Get water bath ready for processing. Add dish to freezer for testing.
* Strain basil from liquid. Measure 2 cups and add to pot (I use my enamel cast iron). Add sugar and lemon juice. Add food coloring (I added two drops because the color wasn't a very pretty green on its own.) Bring to a hard boil.
* Once at a hard boil, add in pectin. Stir well and bring back up to a hard boil.
* Test jam on plate in freezer. If it jells, you're done. If not, add the extra tablespoon of pectin.
* I poured the prepared jelly into a large measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring (no idea why I never thought to do this before now). A ladle works fine too. Fill jars, clean rims, add lids.
* Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
**I've enjoyed this jelly with both chicken and turkey, on a tomato sandwich and over cream cheese with crackers. It's delish! This also makes a wonderful hostess or Christmas gift!
What are your favorite jam or jelly recipes? Are there any you are just itching to try?