A three-ingredient jelly recipe that uses no sugar? It almost sounds too good to be true… Except it is true, and truly good whether it’s spread on English muffins or Southern cornbread.
If you harvest your honey and lemons from a backyard or a farmers’ market, this is about as local as you can get. Both flavors complement each other beautifully without turning too sweet or too tart.
Admittedly, when I first made my test batch, I forgot to add the pectin. I couldn’t figure out why my jelly would not set, even after two days of being tucked away in cool temperatures. Doh! But rather than re-boiling all the jellies with pectin, I decided to keep one jar as-is in the refrigerator. That single jar of lemon-honey syrup has become one of my favorite ways to sweeten a cup of hot tea, and it makes a delicious drizzle over vanilla bean ice cream. I might try it in oatmeal, too.
So whether you decide to make a jelly or a syrup, intentionally or unintentionally, you will love it either way!
Makes 4 half-pints
5 to 6 lemons
2 1/2 cups honey
3 tablespoons (or 1 packet) low-sugar powdered pectin (I use Ball RealFruit Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin)
Wash and scrub your lemons thoroughly. Using a Microplane or fine grater, zest your lemons and set aside 1 tablespoon of zest for your jelly. The remaining zest can be stored in the freezer for future use (we don’t want to waste any part of the lemon!).
Squeeze enough juice from your lemons to measure 1 full cup. If necessary, strain any pulp or seeds from the juice. The liquid does not need to be crystal clear as you’ll be adding zest to the jelly.
In a large pot, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, and pectin, and stir well. Don’t use any pot smaller than 4 quarts, because when this thing boils and bubbles up, it really expands!
Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for a few minutes, then remove from heat.
Ladle the hot jelly into hot, clean jars. Wipe the rims with a damp towel to ensure a safe seal, then secure with lids and rings.
Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting the time as needed for altitude.
Did I mention the syrup version is really good on cornbread? Home-baked cornbread, at that. Mmmmm.