I made up a jelly last night thinking to use up the frozen cranberries I'd stashed in the freezer last fall. I added a handful of frozen, unsweetened dark cherries, and a few sprigs of basil. Instead of reviewing my 20 minute jam recipe, I plunged ahead and added equal parts water and sugar, plus lemon juice. I simmered for maybe 20 minutes, took a quick reading with the candy thermometer, and took it off heat before it reached 240 degrees.
While the jelly was tasty and tangy it was a little softer than usual - fine for poached chicken sandwiches, but not quite as firm as I expected. It made a little over one jar of jelly, which I think I might try on roasted chicken, brushed on halfway between raw and sizzling. And now I see what went wrong - adding water, though cranberries tend to the dry side. Next time I'll try half cranberries, half cherries, with half the water and a little more sugar, and making sure the temperature reaches 240 degrees. Here is the recipe I used, made up spur of the moment:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries
1/2 cup frozen dark unsweetened cherries
3 T. fresh lemon juice
8 or so fresh basil leaves
Bring water, lemon juice, and sugar to a boil. Stir in the cranberries and cherries and basil leaves. Make sure you have a candy thermometer on hand and simmer/slow boil until it reaches 240 degrees. Remove basil leaves if desired, strain into a pitcher (discard the solids) then pour immediately into a clean jar, let cool, then cap and keep in the fridge for instant appetizers (on Breton crackers), or as a glaze. Equally good on chicken sandwiches or sweet butter and jelly sandwiches, or served up with goat cheese toasts - such a pretty color!