Herbal Harvest: Pineapple Sage Jelly

http://www.motherearthliving.com/Food-Matters/herbal-harvest-pineapple-sage-jelly.aspx

N.HeraudYou can check out the Lemon Verbena Lady at her blog  http://lemonverbenalady.blogspot.com.

Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) is one of my favorite herbs. It needs to be used fresh though. When dried, it loses its flavor. I also love pineapple sage because it is definitely a wonderful fall blooming addition to your herb garden. The hummingbird loves it as well. I have not seen the hummingbird as consistently in the garden as last year. I think the cool summer has kept them from visiting as much.

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A blooming pineapple sage plant. 

I spent a day making three different variations of a pineapple sage jelly. I used my favorite recipe from Renee Shepherd as a base recipe that uses scented basils as a flavor. The base was pineapple juice, not water, with the chopped up leaves of pineapple sage. I chose the frozen reconstituted juice not the canned pineapple juice. It was more economical because it made three recipes. The frozen juice had a good flavor and is not as dense as the canned juice. The three variations were rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or lemon juice. The three jellies look the same. They have a cloudy (not clear) look to them.

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Three Variations of Pineapple Sage Jelly
 

Then came the true test—the Herbal Husband. I tested all three versions on him. We tried the jelly on an unsalted saltine with cream cheese. It doesn't sound good, but it gives you a very clear taste of the jelly. We decided that the rice wine vinegar and lemon juice jellies were best, followed by the white wine vinegar variation. They were so close in flavor though that any of the three were delicious!

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Taste testing with pineapple sage jelly, cream cheese and unsalted saltines. 

Lemon Verbena Lady's Pineapple Sage Jelly 

Makes four 8-ounce jars 

• One 12-ounce can of Old Orchard Pineapple Juice, frozen concentrate, reconstituted with 3 cans of water (It makes three recipes of jelly once it is reconstituted.)
• 2 cups of pineapple juice
• 1 1/2 cups of pineapple sage leaves, packed
• 3 1/2 cups of sugar
• 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar OR lemon juice, your choice of one
• 1 pinch of salt
• 1 pouch of liquid pectin

1. Wash and dry the pineapple sage in paper towels, then coarsely chop it. Put the pineapple sage in a large saucepan, and crush the leaves using the bottom of a glass. (I use a food processor.) Add the juice, bring slowly to a boil, and boil for 10 seconds. Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes to steep.

2. Strain 1 1/2 cups of liquid from the saucepan and pour through a fine strainer into another saucepan. Add the vinegar of your choice (or lemon juice), salt and sugar, and bring to a hard boil while stirring. When the boil can't be stirred down, add the pectin. Return to a hard boil that can't be stirred down and boil for exactly 1 minute, then remove saucepan from heat.

3. Skim off the foam and pour the hot jelly into four hot, sterilized (in boiling water for 10 minutes) half-pint jelly jars. Leave 1/2-inch (or less) headspace and seal at once with sterilized 2-piece lids. I just leave my lids in hot water not boiling until you need them. Can the jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

4. To use: I would use this jelly on thumbprint cookies, cream cheese and crackers for a quick appetizer and a teaspoon or two as a glaze for the last 15 minutes of baking chicken or pork.