Sipping a mug of steaming, spiced mulled wine is a winter treat that never fails to chase the cold away. This jelly recipe captures the rich flavor and deep ruby color of mulled wine in a beautiful jelly that is delicious paired with a cheese and fruit plate, or simply spread on toast. It makes a unique gift during the winter holidays.
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Canning Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 36 minutes
Yield: 4 half pint jars
1 bottle/750 ml cabernet, merlot, or other full-bodied red wine, divided
- 3 cups/680 g white sugar
- 1/3 cup/71 g brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1 packet (3 oz./89 ml) liquid pectin
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 2 three-inch cinnamon sticks, broken into several pieces
- 4 whole allspice
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 1 strip of orange peel, zest only (optional)
Measure out 1 1/2 cups/355 ml of the wine into a small pot. Bring the wine to a boil over medium high heat and continue to cook until it is reduced to approximately 1/2 cup/118 ml. This can take as long as 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, sterilize your canning jars.
Tie the spices up in a square of cheesecloth, or in a small muslin bag, or even a small square cut from a clean old sheet.
Put the rest of the wine in a large non-reactive pot (no aluminum or non-enameled cast iron). It is important that it be a large pot even though the jelly mixture will only fill the bottom portion of it: during the cooking process, the jelly will foam up the sides of your pot. Give it room to do so, or you'll have jelly all over your stove!
Add the two kinds of sugar and the spice bundle to the wine in the large pot. A note about the sugar: don't reduce it in this recipe or your jelly won't gel. If you want to try making a lower sugar product, you might try using a low methoxyl pectin.
Bring the wine and sugar to a boil over high heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. When the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is boiling vigorously, stir in the reduced wine, lemon juice and liquid pectin. Return the mixture to a full boil. Boil for 1 minute.
Remove the jelly from the heat. Take out and discard the spice bundle. Skim off and discard any foam that has formed on the surface. Pour into the sterilized canning jars leaving 1/2-inch head space.
At this point, you have choices. If you just want to store your jelly for up to 1 month, let it first cool in the covered jars at room temperature for 24 hours, then transfer the jars to the refrigerator. For longer storage at room temperature, right after you pour the hot jelly into the jars and cover them, process the jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes (adjust processing time for altitudes higher than 1000 feet).
Note that your mulled wine jelly will still be quite liquid when you first pour it into the jars, and may take as long as a day to thicken up to a good gel.