Category: Condiments, Dips, and Spreads

How to Make Chive Blossom Jelly

It seems like every food gardener has an arsenal of jam and jelly recipes. After all, it’s a sweet, tasty, and easy way to preserve fruit and, in some cases vegetables and herbs, for the year ahead.

The problem is that my husband and I rarely eat jam or jelly, so most of these recipes don’t appeal to us since they’d just sit on the shelf. I still have some dandelion jelly from two years ago that I’m unlikely to ever eat.

Every once in a while, though, I come across a jelly recipe that does appeal to us. We tend to like savoury jellies, partly because they have wider uses than “spread it on toast”. Later this year I’ll do up a batch of hot pepper and wine jelly, which goes phenomenal on a baked brie.

My discovery this year is chive blossom jelly.

The first harvest of spring

Dandelions and edible weeds aside, chives are often the first produce to come up in the garden and the first to be harvested.

So in the spring our garden looks like this…

…with the ground mostly barren and the only plants showing life being the perennials, trees, and bushes.

But the chives are quickly growing and very soon look like this…

They’re the first burst of colour in the spring. And they bring with them a tantalizing aroma that you can sometimes smell just being in the vicinity of them.

There are two common types of chives — onion chives and garlic chives. These are onion chives. (We bought some leek seedlings and planted them and our neighbour says he thinks the plant was mislabeled and we bought garlic chives instead. So now we might have both?)

Onion chives have a green onion taste to them — oniony and fairly strong, but without the harsh bite that green onions can sometimes have in the bulb area. Both the green stalks and the purple blossoms are edible.

The only problem with chives is that they are difficult to preserve. You can freeze them, but they lose their flavour pretty quickly. You can dehydrate them, but they lose their flavour even faster.

I’ve got a batch of chive blossom vinegar on the go as a way to preserve the flavour and I’m attempting a fermented chives recipe I found (and I’ll report back when they’re done). Chive blossom jelly is a new preservation method added to my arsenal.

Frankensteining a recipe

I sort of Frankensteined this recipe together.

There are chive blossom jelly recipes out there, but they all call for low-sugar pectin which, to the best of my knowledge, is not easily found in Canada. The grocery stores don’t have it, Amazon has it for super expensive, the nearby department stores with canning supplies (Canadian Tire, Walmart), don’t have it. I couldn’t find an easy way to adapt a low-sugar pectin recipe to a full-sugar pectin recipe, so I half-invented this and half-adapted this to work with regular pectin.

You start by boiling and then simmering chive blossoms in a mix of water, white wine (optional, you can use additional water instead), and cider vinegar to leech out the flavour and some of the colour from the blossoms. I had some chive blossom vinegar from last year on hand, so instead of using cider vinegar I used the chive blossom vinegar for some extra chive-y taste. After it simmers for a while, you strain out the solids and let the liquid cool to room temperature.

From there it’s a pretty standard jelly recipe involving pectin, boiling, adding sugar, hard boiling, and canning. All instructions are in the recipe card below.

For an extra splash of fun, I picked apart some chive blossoms and added them to the jar before pouring in the hot jelly.

After canning, this is the final result…

Uses for chive blossom jelly

Chive blossom jelly has a very vibrant chive taste and even though it’s a full sugar recipe, it doesn’t seem too sweet to me, which opens it up to several different uses.

There’s, of course, the obvious use of spreading it on toast, but here are some ways I’m looking forward to using it:

  • As a topping on sandwiches. I make an excellent bagel breakfast sandwich with mayo, cheese, egg, and bacon, and I find a thin layer of savoury jelly often caps it off perfectly.
  • As a topping on a baked brie. During BBQ season I love to bake brie cheese on the grill and putting a thick layer of savoury jelly on top just adds a little something special to an already delicious appetizier.
  • As a side for a charcuterie or a cheese board. A little slathering of jelly on a cracker served alongside sharp cheese or cured meats would be heavenly.

Chive Blossom Jelly

Savoury, chive-y, and slightly sweet, chive blossom jelly looks gorgeous, tastes delicious, and can be used for savoury breakfasts, charcuterie boards, and baked bries.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Breakfast

Equipment

  • 1 Strainer
  • 1 Water Bath Canner
  • 4-5 1-Cup Canning Jars with Lids (Or 8-10 Half-Cup Canning Jars with Lids)

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups Chive Blossoms, plus a few extra for garnish
  • cups Water
  • 2 cups Dry White Wine (cooking wine is fine)
  • ¼ cup Cider Vinegar
  • 1 box Powdered Pectin (57g)
  • 4 cups Sugar

Instructions
 

  • Clean blossoms. Be sure they're free of insects, dirt, and debris; wash/rinse if necessary.
  • Place blossoms (except the few saved for garnish), water, wine, and vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for twenty minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Strain to separate blossoms from liquid. Leave to drip for 1-2 hours. Discard solids. Let liquid cool to room temperature.
  • Measure sugar and put aside so it can be added quickly when needed. Prepare canning jars by ensuring they are clean and warm. Pick petals off the saved chive blossoms and drop into the jars. When jelly is added later, the petals will float to the top and be part of the jelly.
  • Put three cups of liquid in a large pot. A larger pot is necessary as the jelly will foam up in the next few steps. Whisk in powdered pectin until it dissolves.
  • Bring to a boil. Whisk in sugar and return to a boil. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly.
  • Working quickly, remove pot from heat and skim off any foam. Immediately ladle into the jars, leaving a ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims. Put on lid and screw to fingertip tightness. Place jars in canner and cover with an inch of water.
  • Process in canner for ten minutes. The ten minute timer starts when the water is brought to a full boil.
  • Remove canner from heat and let sit for five minutes. Carefully remove jars using a jar lifter. Let sit undisturbed on the counter overnight.
  • In the morning, test if lids have "popped" — they bend downward, indicating a seal was made. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool dry place. Unsealed jars (ones that did not "pop") should be refrigerated and consumed first.

Notes

If you’re located at more than 1,000 feet above sea level, you’ll need to adjust the processing time. This chart will help you figure it out.
If you’re avoiding wine, you can use water instead.
Cider vinegar can be replaced with any vinegar that has a mild or complementary taste, such as white wine vinegar. When I made the batch pictured here, I had chive blossom vinegar on hand, so I used that for an extra burst of chive-flavour.
Keyword chives blossom, jelly

How to Make Pumpkin Butter

For fans of pumpkin and all things autumn, pumpkin butter is a treat. I made a batch last year and took it along to work with a fresh loaf of homemade sourdough bread and a colleague described it as “a warm hug on a cold day”.

I’ve taken to gifting pumpkin butter to friends and family. It’s one of those things that feels luxurious and special, but it’s ridiculously easy to make. Given that pumpkin butter is something not found in stores—at least not around here—it doubles as a gift for those hard-to-buy-for people in your life.

Despite its name, there’s no butter or any kind of dairy in pumpkin butter. It’s basically pumpkin cooked to the point where it’s spreadable like butter.

Making pumpkin butter

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, dump in a 15oz can of pumpkin puree—or if you make your own pumpkin puree, put an equivalent amount in the pot. For us metric system folks, 15oz is just shy of two cups, so you could just put in two cups and not worry about the 1oz extra.

To this, add half a cup of apple juice—I used my own apple juice that I canned from a friend’s apple tree this past summer—two-thirds cup of brown sugar, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, and an eighth of a teaspoon each of ground cloves, ground ginger, and salt.

When I got to the brown sugar part of this recipe is when I discovered I didn’t have any in the house. John had done some baking a few weeks ago and must have used the last of it. Unfortunately, we’re in the midst of a sugar shortage here in Western Canada. Most (or all?) of our sugar comes from Rogers / Lantic, and they’ve been on strike since sometime in September. Nowadays you’re lucky to find sugar in the grocery store…right as we enter into Christmas baking season. All of this is to say that I didn’t bother heading down to the grocery store to pick up a bag of brown sugar since I knew chances of me finding some were slim to none.

Thankfully, there’s an easy fix for this—I had white sugar and molasses on hand, and brown sugar is literally just white sugar and molasses combined.

Since pumpkin butter isn’t a baking recipe that requires exact ratios of ingredients, I didn’t get too exact with the white sugar and molasses ratios. I put in the equivalent amount of white sugar, two thirds of a cup, and then poured in several tablespoons of molasses.

Once everything is in the pot, give it a big stir to mix it all up, then turn on the stove, bring it to a boil, and then partially cover it, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for about twenty minutes until it’s thick and glossy. You’ll want to stir it regularly with a rubber or silicone spatula so you can scrape the bottom of the pot to ensure nothing is sticking and burning.

Once you’ve reached your desired consistency—and do feel free to let it cook a little longer if you find it’s not thick enough yet—remove the pot from the heat and let the pumpkin butter cool. Once it’s fully cool, you can transfer it to containers or jars for storage. I like to use one-cup mason jars as this allows me to put one jar in the fridge and the rest in the freezer, so I don’t have to worry about a big jar of it going bad before I can finish it all.

In the fridge, pumpkin butter should last a few weeks. In the freezer, you’ll get at least a few months.

Enjoying pumpkin butter

I find that pumpkin butter tastes like pumpkin pie filling, which shouldn’t be too surprising—after all, it’s made with pumpkin, sugar, and some of the spices found in pumpkin pie.

I like to eat it on my morning toast or on a bagel. It’s nice enough that it could be part of a mid-day snack or even a dessert. A scoop of pumpkin butter on top of a flaky buttery (but plain) pastry would be lovely.

Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin butter makes a wonderful autumn spread for toast and bagels, tasting almost like pumpkin pie.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • 1 Large Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 15oz Can Pumpkin Puree (or homemade pumpkin puree)
  • ½ Cup Apple Juice
  • Cup Brown Sugar (Packed)
  • ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • tsp Ground Cloves
  • tsp Ground Ginger
  • heaping tsp Salt

Instructions
 

  • Combine all ingredients in a large heavy-bottomed pot.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce heat and partly cover. Simmer, stirring regularly to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom and burning, for approximately twenty minutes until mixture becomes thick and glossy.
  • Remove from heat, let cool. Transfer to jars or other fridge- and freezer-safe containers.
  • Pumpkin butter can be stored, covered, in the fridge for a couple weeks or in the freezer for a few months.
Keyword pumpkin, pumpkin butter

How to Make Cheddar Guinness Dip

My husband and I like to have traditions around food.

We like to try new things and then incorporate them into an event to make both the event and the food special. For example, we love watching the Oscars every year and my husband always does up a big batch of Caesar salad (with dressing made from scratch) and fettuccini Alfredo (with sauce made from scratch).

For the past few years we’ve had a friend with Irish heritage come over for dinner on or around St. Patrick’s Day, and so our food tradition is that I try to come up with something Irish for dinner. We’re not the type to drink all the green beer, but more the type to want a good Irish stew with some Irish sides. Last year I made Irish soda bread.

This year I stumbled across a handful of recipes for Cheddar Guinness Dip and knew I had to make it.

What you serve with the dip is up to you. Around the same time I also discovered Irish Potato Bread, and these definitely go together well. Pretzels and celery sticks would be fantastic with this.

There is a small amount of Guinness in here and it’s not cooked so the alcohol isn’t boiled off or anything, so ideally this would be an adults-only appetizer. That being said, the amount of Guinness per serving is minuscule.

Other than the two cheeses, I treated this like a “measure with your heart” recipe. I eyeballed everything and doubled the garlic because who doesn’t like garlic?

But, let’s work through this:

If you have a big food processor, this whole recipe is made in there. I don’t. My food processor is tiny, but I found using a handheld blender / stick blender worked well. I just had to really force it into the cheese to get it to mix. If you don’t have one of these either, you could just mix it really well with a fork. Your final result will be a bit chunkier, but it’ll taste just as great. The chunky texture might even be more appealing, come to think of it.

Start with putting nearly everything in the food processor or a bowl—softened cream cheese, shredded Irish cheddar cheese, garlic cloves, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt, and pepper.

I had to head to the deli section of my grocery store to get fancy cheeses, but if that’s not an option for you either because of cost or local selection, getting an old or sharp cheddar cheese will do in a pinch.

If you don’t have Dijon mustard (I didn’t), a strong mustard will do. If all you have is yellow hot dog mustard, use that. For myself, I harvest and blend my own mustard and it has quite the bite, so I used that.

Blend it all in the food processor or with the stick blender or fork until smooth and nicely blended.

Pour in the Guiness and mix it up again. Be careful that you don’t splatter Guinness all over the place.

When that’s all mixed in well and you have a consistent final product, transfer it to your serving bowl and top with parsley (fresh or dried) and green onion.

Let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour to let the flavours really combine nicely, and then serve it up. Like I mentioned above, goes fantastic with Irish potato bread, but pretzels or celery would go great too.

This is definitely a recipe you can make a day ahead. We had leftovers that we ate the next two days while watching TV and it was just as good those times.

Honestly, this is super easy to make and super impressive. It was the hit of our dinner party and it literally took me like ten minutes.

Cheddar Guinness Dip

A tasty option for a St. Patrick's Day party, or any party really, with the sharp bite of Irish cheddar cheese and the tang of Guinness. Goes great with crackers or Irish Potato Bread.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Irish

Equipment

  • Food Processor (Large) You can make do without a food processor. See recipe for details.

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g Cream cheese Softened
  • 250 g Irish cheddar cheese, or other sharp cheddar cheese Shredded
  • 1-2 Garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard Any strong mustard will do in the absence of Dijon
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp Paprika
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • tsp Pepper
  • cup Guinness
  • 3 Green onions
  • Parsley, fresh or dried, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Put the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt, and pepper in a large food processor and blend until smooth and consistent. If you don't have a food processor or yours is too small, there are alternatives. I used a hand blender / stick blender, pressing it down into the mixture to mix it up. You could also use a fork to mix and press together; with this method you'll get one that's less smooth but that's all right. If you're going with the fork method, you'll want to mince the garlic since there are no blades to chop it up.
  • Add in the Guinness and process until smooth.
  • Transfer to a bowl, smooth out, and top with green onions and parsley.
  • Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Notes

This works well as a “measure with your heart” recipe. If you want extra cheese or extra Guinness or extra garlic or any alterations, just go for it. When I make this, I eyeball all the ingredient measurements.
If you want to go all Irish, this dip goes great with Irish Potato Bread.
Keyword Beer, Cheddar, Dip for bread, Dip for crackers, Guinness