Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Zucchini and making Basil Jelly

It's zucchini time again. Just trying to keep up with them can be a major job... I like to sautee them, grate them, squeeze the water out and vacuum seal them for winter. I also like to make zucchini fritters and Chocolate Zucchini bread. Just a few ideas of how to use it. This year I am growing the dark green zucchini and the grey zucchini.
Also making Basil Jelly. This is really a nice herb jelly. Goes well with Goat Cheese and certain meats. I'm posting a recipe but you can mix it up a bit. You can add different juices and even add cut fruit if you like. Some people I know make wine basil jelly. Substitute wine for the water. Anyhoo... here is the recipe.

Purple Basil Jelly
2 heaping cups of fresh purple basil leaves (or Green Basil)
2 C boiling water ( or 1 cup of water 1 cup of Apple Juice)
1/4 C well-strained, clear lemon juice
4 C sugar
3 oz liquid pectin (Certo)
You can also add a bit of natural food coloring if you like. Purple or Green

Wash leaves well, (if necessary), drain and place in heat-proof glass or nonreactive bowl. Pour boiling water over leaves and let steep from 30 minutes to 24 hours. I prefer to let it sit overnight, for best flavor and color.. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving the clear, purplish liquid or infusion. If not using
immediately, refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Place jars and lids on rack in pan or stockpot deep enough to cover them with about two inches of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, keeping the jars hot until ready to fill.
To make the jelly, stir lemon juice and sugar into reserved infusion in a two-quart nonreactive or stainless steel pan. Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the liquid pectin and continue to boil two minutes, skimming any foam that may rise to the surface.
Ladle quickly into jars to within about 1/8 inch from the top; clean each rim and threads of the jar as it's filled, and place flat lid and ring on each before filling the next. Screw band on tightly and invert jar on tea towel for about five to 10 minutes. Jars should seal and lids should pop shut within 10 minutes as they cool. If they do not seal, you can place them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes or place in the refrigerator.

Sealed jars will last up to one year in a cool, dark place. Put any unsealed jelly in the refrigerator. It should keep about three weeks. Makes four or five half-pint jars.
This makes a delightful purple, licorice/herb flavored jelly that is delicious on toast or biscuits, but is also wonderful with cold meat sandwiches, as a glaze or part of a marinade, or melted down with a bit of orange juice and used as a dressing for a fruit salad.
You can also try experimenting with other kinds of basil – Holy Basil, African blue basil, or lemon basil are especially delicious!