Apple Earl Grey Almond Jelly

I posted a version of this recipe a few weeks ago, when I was making myself crazy trying to get it right. Since then, I’ve worked it over both in my head and on the stove — and I think I’ve finally got it down. This time around, the set is divine, and I can taste all three ingredients — apple, Earl Grey tea, and a touch of almond.

For all this goodness, I bow low to the ingredients. I happened across some flawless, crisp, organic Granny Smith apples. And I’m a huge fan of the big flavor in Peet’s Earl Grey with Bergamot tea. Add to that some high-quality almond extract and we’re good to go. (I just realized there are whole almonds in the photo above, but no real nuts needed to make the jelly — just the extract and your own nutty self.)

You know you love your jelly when you get up at sunrise just so you can take a photo of it . . .

Apple Earl Grey Almond Jelly

3 1/4 pounds Granny Smith apples
6 1/2 cups water, plus 8 ounces for tea
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 1/2 tablespoons Earl Grey tea
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1. Wash and quarter the apples without peeling or coring them. Put them into a heavy pot, cover with 6 1/2 cups water, and simmer 1/2 hour on low heat. The apples will be soft and pulpy.

2. Strain the mixture through a boiled jelly bag or layers of cheesecloth that you’ve doused in boiling water and wrung out. This will take several hours. (Resist the urge to press or squeeze; you’ll cloud the juice.) After you have the juice, quickly strain it a second time (again through a scalded, clean jelly bag or cheesecloth) to catch any straggling pulp. Pour the juice into a bowl and refrigerate it overnight.

3. The next day, measure 4 1/2 cups of the juice into your pot, scooping the juice from the top of the bowl to avoid any sediment at the bottom. Add the sugar and lemon juice to the pot. Somewhere around this point, perhaps while you are gently heating the mixture to dissolve the sugar, you also need to prepare your tea by adding 8 ounces boiling water to the tea and letting it steep for 3 minutes — then set the tea aside. Before adding the tea, you need to bring the mixture to a boil and cook it nearly to the jelling point. (I took mine off the heat at about 218F.)

4. Add the tea and return the mixture to a boil. Boil to the jelling point (220F) and remove from heat.

5. Add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.

6. Ladle the hot jelly into your sterilized jars and process in a water bath canner. (You can find basic instructions for hot water bath canning at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.) I left 1/4 headspace and processed for 5 minutes. Makes four lovely half-pints.

A few last words to give credit where credit is due. The inspiration for this jelly was threefold: ingredients from Frances Bissell’s Preserving the Harvest, techniques and proportions from Mes Confitures, and the gorgeous taste of the Apple Apricot Almond jelly made by my friend at What Julia Ate.

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18 comments to Apple Earl Grey Almond Jelly

  • Michelle Grimord Eggers

    What a beautiful sunrise/jam picture!

  • Denise | Chez Danisse

    I've been experimenting with Earl Grey lately too. I think I'd like this jelly. Your sunrise photograph is perfect–love it.

  • Shae

    Michelle and Denise: Thanks, both of you, for the kind words about my glowing jar. Denise, I look forward to more Earl Grey experiments — and I'm about to join you on the rhubarb train!

  • Kate @hipgirls

    I'm a little late with this, but that jar/sunrise thing is FRIGGIN amazing. xx

  • Shae | Hitchhiking to Heaven

    Kate: It's never too late to say something so sweet! Thank you.

  • christine

    I just happened across your site and this recipe caught my eye. I love Earl Gray. I will be trying this recipe ASAP. Looking forward to hanging out here more often!

  • Shae | Hitchhiking to Heaven

    Christine: I'm glad you stumbled over this way! If you do make this jelly, I'd love to hear how it works for you. It's one of my favorites.

  • Sandigee

    OMG — I was directed to this site by Marisa at Food in Jars — I LOVE it and especially your sunrise picture! I would do that too. I will be a regular visitor. Just starting out and interested in getting a copper jam pan and that's what Marisa's blog was about today. I'm in California too . . . way south.

  • Shae | Hitchhiking to Heaven

    Sandigee: You warm my heart! Thanks for visiting. I hope you found the copper pan post helpful. I don't use mine for everything, but I do love having it as an option for special jams.

  • Jill

    I am going to make this one for Christmas gifts! How do you make your lid labels? They are fabulous. I've searched all over google and can't find a suitable template.

  • Shae | Hitchhiking to Heaven

    Hi Jill: I'm excited that you want to make this for gifts! I hope you'll let me know how it goes. Thanks about the labels! I have a post describing exactly how I do it. Check out http://www.hitchhikingtoheaven.com/2010/03/easy-diy-canning-labels.html. :-)

  • Shae | Hitchhiking to Heaven

    Hmmm . . . don't know why that link didn't go live. You can try clicking here for the label post, too.

  • Lisa

    Hello,
    Can you tell me where on line I can get the various size and shape jars that you use in your pictures? Thank You.

  • Shae

    Lisa: I’m going to put you in touch with another canner in Ireland. Her name is Dana and she has just started writing a lovely blog called Brazen Bites. If you look there, you’ll find an “Email Me” button in her sidebar. She is happy to provide you with some tips on getting good jars without paying a fortune in shipping costs.

    That said, I’ll mention that the cute, squat jars in this post are from the Ball Elite series. I love how they look, but I don’t use them anymore, for these reasons: The wide shoulders make it difficult to get jam or jelly out of the jar. (I always end up sticking my fingers in there in the end.) And they are really awkward both in the canner and on storage shelves. They don’t stack well.

    My favorite jar is the practical wide-mouth half-pint made by Kerr.

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  • Karen

    Made this lovely jelly this morning. Am in love with it. It is beautiful to look at, and it is such a lovely combination of flavors. I did it in 4 oz jars. My tea loving friends and family will be receiving a jar soon. Your recipes are wonderful. Keep making jam and sharing please.

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