I made jelly for the first time!
So, it was simpler than expected? Like, my stove needs a good scrubbing because I used too small a pot and it boiled over, but oh my God does it taste good. I did some research before I made it, but the recipe I most closely followed (in that it was the only one that explicitly mentioned tea) had you steeping your tea for half an hour, and . . . no. Very no. So much no. Tea steeped for half an hour at temperature tastes like tannins and scalded misery. The aim here is jelly that tastes delicious, not like tannins and scalded misery.
- 3 cups water
- 3/4 cup white pear tea
- half a thing of ginger, grated
- 2 packets powdered gelatin
- lots of sugar. Like, lots. Probably four cups? Just keep adding sugar.
The tea sock was also an important part of this! You want nice clear jelly, not stuff with bits in. So I shredded the ginger and stuck it in the tea sock in about three cups of water and then put it on the stove on medium for like 20 minutes or half an hour. It gets nice and gingery and kind of a weird color.
Then turn the heat up – to 180°F if you’ve got fancy things like any kind of food thermometer, until it’s steaming aggressively but not actually simmering if you don’t. When the water hits temperature, add the tea. Steep it for as long as the instructions say to – this particular white tea says 3-5 minutes, so I steeped it for 5 minutes and then took the tea sock out completely. The key to strong tea is quantity, not time.
I set the tea sock in the sink so it wouldn’t drip, and then added the sugar to the pot. Like, just keep pouring in sugar. I think the ratio you want is twice as much sugar as water? But whatever. At least as much sugar as water. Keep the heat relatively high and stir until it’s smooth, then add the gelatin. If you let it sit on top, it spreads out and dissolves some on its own, so you don’t need to stir it right away. Take like half a minute to empty the tea sock into the garbage and then rinse it – you’re going to want it later.
Stir the jelly! Stir it aggressively until all the lumps are gone. Then turn the heat up – you want it to come to a boil. Keep stirring or it’ll boil over. Mine never did boil properly, but it did get pretty high temperature and then end up all over my stove, so I’m thinking close enough.
Stick the tea sock in the jar you’re using! Stick it pretty far down so the liquid that hits the sides of the tea sock will end up on the inside, not the outside. This part here is why pots with little pouring things on the sides are the absolute best pots, because now you pour your very hot jelly that burns like napalm on your skin into the jar.
The tea sock is to filter it one last time so there are no bits – ideally you won’t really be catching anything in it, but it’s good to have just in case. Yield probably about two jars? I filled one jar recycled from having apple butter in it and two Pyrex containers. If you’re not using jars, still use something heat-proof: melted plastic is not delicious.
It was still pretty liquid a couple hours later, but was deliciously jelly-like in the morning. Tastes amazing on cream cheese – and probably better as a morning treat, considering the caffeine.
I’m incredibly happy I tried this out, and will definitely do it again.