Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Chive Jelly

We have a chive plant that is more than just a plant in our garden.  It is a part of our heritage, a legacy.  We got the chives as a small split off of my husband's grandmother's plant at her house.  We planted it at our first house, when we were first married.  When we had our first daughter, we built a new house, and the chives moved with us across town.  Over the last decade, they have grown, and grown, and grown.  And we have shared the chives with many others.  My kids give them to teachers as gifts.  They invite friends to sample from our plant and then send them home with a split off of it so that they can plant chives in their own yards.  This particular plant has taken root in dozens of yards around the Chicago suburbs.  And it keeps going strong, just like my husband's grandma did for so many years.

This winter, sadly, time finally caught up with our beloved Gigi, and our family journeyed through one of the saddest goodbyes we've had to face.  Then, this spring, her chives popped up in our yard once again, a reminder that life grows.  We miss her terribly, but I know we will always remember her with such love, and I know that she felt that love while she was here.

As far as cooking goes, there are so, so many ways to use chives.  My kids will eat them straight out of the garden, but they also like them sprinkled on eggs or potatoes.  I mix them in with chicken dishes or with fish.  They are great in savory muffins or quick breads.  But after reading an online article about herb jellies, I started thinking about trying out a chive jelly. I'm a big fan of the more savory jellies, like onion jam and pepper jelly, and I thought that the chives would be a great spread for crackers or bread, or to use as a glaze for meat.

I started by chopping up a big bunch of the chives, about 2 cups.


I put the chopped chives in a pot with 2 cups of water, and brought it all to a boil for a couple of minutes.  Then I poured the chives and the water into a separate container, covered them, and let them seep for a couple of hours.


The next thing I did was to strain liquid from the chives through a fine mesh strainer, pushing the chives to get all the "juice" out of it.  Kind of like a chive tea.


I prepped several canning jars and lids, boiling the jars for 10 minutes and then keeping them in the hot water until I needed them.  I soaked the lids in some of the boiled water as well to soften up the seals.

I took the chive tea and put it in a large pot with 1/4 cup of white vinegar, a pinch of salt, and 4 cups of sugar and brought it up to a boil.  Then I added one package (3 ounces) of liquid pectin, brought it back to a boil for one minute, and took it off of the heat.


There was a bit of foam, so I skimmed that off of the hot jelly and then poured it into the prepared jars and put the lids and seals on.  I got about 4 pints of jelly total.


Listening to the pinging pops of the lids as they sealed made me smile.  Opening up the first jar, spreading it onto a cracker and popping it into my mouth made me smile even more.


Chive jelly is a good thing.  A really good thing.  It tastes sweet and savory, clean and grassy, and it's almost like having a bit of spring in a jar.  Very little fuss for a whole lot of yum.  Definitely worth a try!