By Sue NeitzelTis the season for tea, warm and comforting in any form. Since the earliest times, tea has been renowned for its healing properties as a healthy and refreshing drink.
Today in my kitchen, our favorite teas are brewed not only for the tea pot, but into a unique and tasty spread. Tea jellies are inexpensive, easy to make and loaded with beneficial vitamins.
One of my personal favorites is Red Zinger jelly, this ruby red, tangy jelly wakes up any breakfast without the caffeine. Most herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free.
Bursting with flavor, red zinger tea is a traditional African flu remedy with added cancer fighting compounds, plus it’s key ingredient, sorrel blossoms help keep the heart healthy. By brewing this tea in to jelly you’ll be adding a spoonful of medicine to your diet in a delightful way.
Any flavored tea can be transformed into a simple and delicious jelly by using the basic tea jelly recipe below. No other added flavoring is needed for the Red Zinger jelly, but some teas do require a touch of juice. Use your imagination or read the ingredients on the box of tea for a hint, usually the title of the tea will guide you as to what kind of juice to add, for example Lemon Zinger or Peach Mango.
Half the fun of jelly making is coming up with your own concoctions. I’ve even made jelly out of Kool-Aid that kids love. In the recipe below, I’ve included 1/4 cup fruit juice. If not including juice and using a tea infusion as your only liquid, increase the amount of water to 2 cups.
Basic Tea Jelly
1 3/4 cup water
12 regular tea bags
1/4 cup orange juice or related juice
3 cups sugar
1 3 oz. package liquid pectin
Bring water to boil, add tea bags and steep for 30 mins. Discard tea bags and add juice, sugar to brewed tea and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 min. stirring. Remove from heat and add pectin, return to boil and allow to do so for 1 min. Skim off any foam. Pour hot jelly into jars and process for 20 min. Makes 6 pints.
This jelly is a modern twist to an old tradition, and will keep tea a family favorite, even when it’s spread on toast rather than sipped from a cup. Enjoy!
About the Author
Sue is a garden writer, passionate gardener, wife, mother and friend to Mother Earth. She is currently working on her website at www.thegratefulgardener.terrashare.com