Chai Tea Jelly

My Canning Cellar

Aug 18 2022 • 6 mins

Kori sent me a recipe for sweet tea jelly and I decided to make it using chai tea. Because I didn’t have the required liquid pectin, only powdered pectin, I thought I could substitute the powder. However, because the first pectin I saw in my cupboard was an already opened jar of low and no sugar pectin, I decided to use that. Don’t be me. Don’t mess with the science! I had to process that batch two times to try to get it to gel, adding more pectin the 2nd time. I’ve decided it’s going to be used in baking as a kind of thickish yet runny syrup, and I did have some on toast and it has a great chai flavor.  I have no personal preference as to liquid or powdered, it’s just that I’ve never happened to buy or use the liquid.

I then made a batch of sweet chai tea jelly using a recipe that did call for powdered pectin, and  that link will be in the show description. This is how I did it, a slight substitution on the flavor of tea:

I used a dutch oven pot which was an awesome thrift store find of a vintage Wagner Ware,  a small pot for boiling water, a 2 cup measure cup, a tablespoon, a wooden spoon, a canning funnel, lint free cloth, jar lifter, dish towel. My tip especially for new canners is search your thrift stores first for equipment, especially in the fall when folks may be retiring from home canning. It can be costly setting up a new canning center. I broke down my costs in season 1, episode 8.

I used 4 chai tea teabags, 2 cups boiling hot water, 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice, one box regular powdered pectin, and 4 cups white sugar.

I added the pectin to the steeped tea after removing the tea bags, and added the lemon juice as well all in a dutch oven pot. Brought that to a boil, then added the sugar, and brought that to a rolling boil and let it go for one minute. The lemon juice is not added for flavor, it’s added so that there’s acidity in the jelly which makes it able to be water bathed instead of pressure canned.  I have researched if I could pressure can jelly, and the answer has been yes and no, with the no being because of the pressure canning resulting in over cooking the jelly and also it would take longer to do.
This jelly at a rolling boil was an amazing sight of light brown clouds, and didn’t really want to settle down so I could not see if any foam needed to be skimmed off, so I didn’t even bother trying. The foam is edible and I would have kept it in a dish for eating, but most folks take it out to leave room for the actual jelly, especially if the jar is going to be entered at a competition and you wouldn’t want the off-color foam ruining a nice look.

I had my jelly jars already hot from the warming cycle on the canner, so I filled them using the canning funnel and a half cup measure cup, wiped each rim with a hot water soaked lint free cloth, put on the lids and finger tightened the rings. These were processed for ten minutes on the water bath cycle. Because they were being processed for ten minutes, there was no need to pre-sterilize the jars, this is information found on many trusted sites, including the national center for home food preservation. After they were done processing, I removed the canner cover and let them sit for 5 minutes, just to let pressure come down a bit more, then I used the jar lifter to remove them from the canner and placed them on a dish towel. Hot jelly goes into hot jars into hot water, and then onto a dish towel to avoid shocking the jars on a not hot surface. I ended up with two 8 ounce jars and  4  four ounce jars.