CanningCraft Creates: Cold Comfort Jelly

Allison Carroll Duffy
Allison Carroll Duffy

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Here’s Allison:

When I was a kid, whenever my siblings or I were in bed with a cough, sore throat, or otherwise nasty cold, my stepmom would make us a big mug of honey-lemon-ginger "tea." Nothing more than boiling water and lemon juice infused with ginger root and sweetened with a bit of honey, it was a simple concoction, but it provided welcome comfort -- at least a little bit -- when we were sick.

When I met my husband, I learned that he had long relied on a similar anti-cold brew that also included garlic and cayenne pepper. Sipping a hot liquid of most any kind feels good when you have a cold, but beyond this, most of these ingredients have anti-bacterial properties, which certainly doesn't hurt when it comes to fighting a cold.

Even when I'm not sick I enjoy this "tea," and these days my favorite version of it includes a lot of lemon and ginger, along with honey and a bit of cayenne pepper. It's a favorite around our house, especially this winter when it's been so cold here in Maine. Sipping a hot mug by the wood stove is a delightful way to warm up.

DSCN3445Because we drink this tea so much, I thought it would be handy to adapt it into a jelly -- a tea "concentrate" of sorts. This way, we simply scoop a couple of spoonfuls of the jelly into a mug, add boiling water, mix well, and enjoy a quick and easy mug of tea!

The jelly by itself is pretty intense (very lemony and with a bit of heat), though I do, on occasion, eat it plain or on toast. For tea, I find that 2 tablespoons of jelly per cup of boiling water works well, though you might want more or less jelly depending on your taste.

Cold Comfort Jelly

Cold Comfort Jelly is a low-honey cooked jelly made with Pomona’s Pectin. Pomona's Pectin contains no sugar or preservatives and jells reliably with low amounts of any sweetener.

Yield: 4 to 5 cups

Before You Begin:
Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona's pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

Cold Comfort Jelly Ingredients

DSCN3429¼ pound fresh ginger root
2½ cups water
10-15 lemons (enough to yield 2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice)
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
4 teaspoons calcium water
1½ cups honey, divided
4 teaspoons Pomona's Pectin powder

Cold Comfort Jelly Directions

1. Wash and rinse jars, lids, and screw bands. Set screw bands aside until ready to use. Place jars in boiling water bath canner with a rack, fill at least 2/3 of the way full with water, and bring to a boil. Boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize (add 1 additional minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level), then turn down heat and let jars stand in hot water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small pan, bring to a low simmer, and hold there until ready to use.

DSCN34402. Slice the ginger root into thin pieces--1/4 inch thick or less. Place the sliced ginger into a sauce pan, add the 2 1/2 cups water, cover with a lid, and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and continue to cook, still covered, for 15 minutes. Then, remove from the heat.

3. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a large, heat-proof measuring cup or bowl. Discard the ginger pieces (or use them for something else). Measure out 2 cups of the ginger-infused liquid. If you have more liquid than you need, remove as much liquid as necessary to meet the 2 cup measurement. If you don't have enough of the ginger-infused liquid, simply add more water to meet the 2 cup measurement.

4. Juice the lemons. Pour the freshly-squeezed lemon juice through a fine mesh strainer. If necessary, use your fingers to press the pulp against the strainer, extracting as much juice as possible. Discard any seeds or pulp remaining in the strainer. Measure out 2 cups of the lemon juice. (If you have extra, you can use it for something else.)


5. Combine the 2 cups of the ginger- infused liquid and the 2 cups of lemon juice in a sauce pan. Add the cayenne powder and calcium water, then stir to combine.

6. In a separate bowl, combine 3/4 cup of the honey and the pectin powder. Mix well and set aside.

7. Bring the ginger-lemon liquid to rolling boil over high heat. Add the honey-pectin mixture, then stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes, still over the highest heat, to dissolve pectin. Add the remaining 3/4 cup honey, and stir to dissolve the honey while returning the mixture to a boil. Then, remove it from the heat.

8. Remove hot jars from canner and fill jars with jelly, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, and put on lids and screw bands, tightening bands only to "fingertip tight" (until resistance is met, and then just the tiniest bit more).

9. Place jars in the hot water, on the rack inside the canner. (Make sure jars are upright, not touching each other or the sides of the canner, and are covered with at least 1-2 inches of water). Place the lid on the canner, return the canner to a rolling boil, and boil for 10 minutes. (Add 1 minute additional processing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.)

10. Turn off heat and allow canner and jars to sit for 5 minutes. Then, remove jars from canner.

11. Allow jars to cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then, confirm that jars have sealed. Remove screw bands from sealed jars, rinse off outside of jars if necessary, label jars, and store for later use.

Recipe and Photos by Allison Carroll Duffy.

Printable Copy of the Cold Comfort Jelly recipe only.

To learn more about Allison, visit her CanningCraft blog.

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17 Responses

  1. Jerimi
    | Reply

    Do you think it would be OK to brew herbal mint tea to use in place of the water? I’ll definitely be making another batch before much longer. This has been so wonderful to have around. Thank you!

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      Hello Jerimi,

      Thanks so much for reaching out! Yes, we believe that replacing the water with mint tea would be wonderful!

  2. Jerimi
    | Reply

    This looks incredible! I would love to make some to be able to give away for Christmas this year. However, I have arthritis, and there’s no way I’m going to be able to juice that many lemons. Would it work if I use bottled lemon juice? Thank you so much!

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply


      • Jerimi
        | Reply

        I made this jelly in August, and it turned out ridiculously pretty. A lot of smoke from the fires rolled into town last night, so I woke up this morning with a sore throat, and opened one of the jellies to try. It really is a comfort. :P. Thank you!

  3. Love this jam – it is truly Comfort Tea. As soothing as it is delicious! Thank you!

  4. Gina R.
    | Reply

    My daughter can’t have the cayenne powder. Would it still work just leaving that one ingredient out, but doing everything else the same?

    • Mary Lou Sumberg
      | Reply

      Hi Gina,
      Yes, it would be fine to leave the cayenne out of the Cold Comfort Jelly recipe.

      Thanks for using Pomona’s Pectin.

      Happy Holidays — and Happy Jamming!

      • Gina R.
        | Reply

        Thanks! Happy Holidays to you guys too!

        P.S. I’ve been using Pomona’s Pectin for a couple of years already and inventing my own recipes just using the amount of pectin/fruit needed for each ingredient and combining them. It’s been great for my entire family because we have so many food allergies. It’s nice to know exactly what we’re eating. Now my extended family requests my jam all year long because it tastes more “real” than regular jam because you can actually taste the fruit, not just the sugar. I am nearly out of the pound of pectin I bought, so I will have to be getting some more soon! Thanks for such a wonderful product! (On this week’s list – Christmas Jam, Pomegranate Jelly, Pineapple Jam and Cold Comfort Jelly – Thanks for the recipes!)

  5. Kathy England
    | Reply

    This sounds fantastic! But before I get brave, what is calcium water? I’ve never heard of it. And where do I get it? Cannot wait to have this on hand this winter.

    • Mary Lou Sumberg
      | Reply

      Hi Kathy,
      Pomona’s Pectin is different from regular pectin because it jells in the presence of calcium — not needing sugar to bring on the jell. Our pectin always comes with a packet of calcium powder. You make the calcium water with that.

      To learn more about Pomona’s Pectin and the calcium powder, please visit the FAQ page on our website, Section 2.

      Thanks for your interest in Pomona’s Pectin — and happy jamming!

  6. Jenny
    | Reply

    I love this tea, and make it fresh all the time. Just wondering if you could you make this, leave out the pectin and calcium water, and then can it? i.e. Just process it as a tea/concentrate, rather than as a jelly?

    • Mary Lou Sumberg
      | Reply

      Hi Jenny,
      Sorry it took a few days to get back to you — we had a big family Thanksgiving this year, and it is still going on!

      There should be no problem with making this “tea” without the pectin and calcium water and water bath canning it as you would a jelly.

      Would love to hear your results if you do that.

  7. Julie
    | Reply

    Have you ever done a version of the jam with added garlic? We also make this “tea” for colds and generally call it the garlic-lemon-honey tea.

    I’m personally thinking the garlic wouldn’t be quite as effective once canned, as the healing compounds of it work best raw, but I’m curious if anybody has tried it anyway.

    I realize we could always squish raw garlic into our mug, as we do now, along with the couple of tablespoons of jam. 😉

    • Mary Lou Sumberg
      | Reply

      Hi Julie,
      I checked with Allison, the recipe creator, and we both agree with you that the best way would be to squish the garlic into the mug before drinking. We think it is not a good idea to add garlic to the recipe both for the reason you say and also because garlic is a low-acid food and we don’t know if adding it to the jelly would make it unsafe for water bath canning.

      I have made this jelly and it is wonderful to have it around. Next time I drink it I’m going to squish some garlic in the bottom of my mug — thanks for the idea!

  8. Carey Nash
    | Reply

    Wow. I think a few spoonfuls of this stirred into some cooked rice or tossed with some steamed vegetables would also make a lovely, fragrant side dish with any Asian-inspired meal. Can’t wait to try it.

    • Mary Lou Sumberg
      | Reply

      Great idea Carey — I have a stash of this jelly and am going to try it also. Let us know how you like it when you try it!

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