Getting creative with jams, chutneys and more, including spiced cider jelly

This spiced cider jelly is one of the creative creations in the new book “Better Homes and Gardens Jams and Jellies: Our Very Best Sweet & Savory Recipes.” Contributed by Meredith Corporation

This spiced cider jelly is one of the creative creations in the new book “Better Homes and Gardens Jams and Jellies: Our Very Best Sweet & Savory Recipes.” Contributed by Meredith Corporation

Since I was writing about apples for my column this week, I thought I’d run this spice cider jelly from the new jam and jelly (and preserves and compote) book from Better Homes and Gardens. The editors of this book solved a common problem in preserving books: Giving readers ideas for how to use the jams, jellies and more they make.

My fridge is full of condiments I can’t seem to use up, so it’s inspiring to see a photo of a grilled chicken wrap next to a curry coconut apple butter recipe, rosemary tomato jam served with slices of grilled halloumi cheese or raspberry lemonade jelly spread on a mini cupcake.

This recipe turns a traditional spiced cider drink into a spreadable treat for toasted bagels and fresh biscuits. When warmed, it makes a great glaze for pork chops and pound cake, too. As the editors suggested for the lemon-lime honeydew jelly, this jelly would also be great mixed into a whiskey- or rum-based cocktail.

Ground spices won’t make for a clear jelly, though, so seek out whole from the baking aisle or, better yet, the bulk spice section.

Cider ‘N’ Spice Jelly

5 cups fresh-pressed apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
8 whole allspice
8 whole cloves
7 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 of a 6-oz. pkg. (1 foil pouch) liquid fruit pectin

In a 6- to 8-quart nonreactive heavy pot, combine the first four ingredients (through cloves). Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Line a sieve with a double layer of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth; place sieve over a large bowl. Strain cider mixture through cheesecloth. If desired, reserve spices to add to canning jars.

Wash the pot, then return strained cider to pot. Stir in sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Add pectin. Return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Ladle hot jelly into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. If desired, add some of the reserved cinnamon, allspice and cloves to each jar. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids and screw bands.

Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks. Makes 7 half-pint jars.

— From “Better Homes and Gardens Jams and Jellies: Our Very Best Sweet & Savory Recipes” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $19.99)


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