After my first successful forray into jelly/jam making, I was itching to try another batch or two. I picked up a copy of Linda Amendt’s book, which has tons of great jam and jelly recipes, and decided to try some “drunken” spreads: Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Jelly and Blackberry Cabernet Sauvignon Jam (recipe to follow).
After reading the author’s admonitions about not doubling or otherwise changing the amounts in the recipes, I figured I’d make a half batch of the cab jelly. That way I could make the jam and jelly with one 750-ml bottle of Cabernet with just a little wine left over. But what to do with the rest…?
I had planned on preparing both recipes on the same day, but I ended up making the cab jelly a day or so before I got around to the blackberry cab jam. The jam recipe called for the following ingredients:
- 3 3/4 cups (about 1 1/2 lbs) crushed blackberries — I used frozen
- 1 pkg powdered fruit pectin
- 6 1/3 cups (yikes!) sugar
- 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine
- 1/2 tsp. unsalted butter (optional)
I crushed the thawed blackberries one layer at a time in a flat container.
Then I put the berries, juice and all, into a pot with the pectin, which I had mixed with 1/4 cup sugar, and the butter. The butter is optional, but I like to use it, as it helps keep the jam from foaming as it cooks.
I brought this mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Then I gradually stirred in the remaining sugar, brought the mixture back to a rolling boil, and stirred and boiled it for 1 minute. I then took it off the heat, stirred in the wine, and let it rest for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, while I got the jars and lids ready.
I filled the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top, wiped the rims and threads, placed the lids on the jars, and screwed on the bands. The recipe said it would make 7 or 8 eight-ounce jars; I ended up with 7 eight-ounce and 4 four-ounce jars. I put the jars in the water bath, brought it to a gentle, steady boil, and processed the jars for 10 minutes.
I took the jars out of the water bath, put them on a dish towel on the counter, and waited for the thocking sound of the lids sealing. All of the lids sealed, and I kept checking the jam throughout the rest of the evening to see if the jam was setting up. It stayed liquidy until bedtime, but by morning it was set and beautiful.
I had a little bit of jam left over when I filled the jars, which I put in a custard cup in the fridge. I ate it on toast for breakfast. And a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. Then more toast. And another sandwich. It is absolutely delicious. The berries are so fresh and bold tasting, and the wine gives it an added bit of richness.
When I was ladeling the jam into the jars and realized how much I was going to end up with, I started wondering what I would do with all of it. Now I’m wondering how soon I will have to make more.