Sweet Tea Jelly Recipe

Sweet Tea Jelly
Stephanie Shih
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 5 half-pint jars (20 servings)

I learned how to drink sweet tea in South Carolina as glasses of cool liquid courage for the sultry afternoons were passed around, condensation moistening our hands. This jelly is my best memory of back roads where peach trees were heavy with ripe fruit. At night in the small town, we would walk below the stars, telling each other stories to light our path. The idea with this jelly is to smear a bit on toast or shellac it on Mini Cherry Chai Cream Pies (recipe on page 94 of the book.)

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups black tea (1/3 cup loose, English breakfast)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (bottled)
  • 1 package/1 3/4 ounce pectin (powdered)
  • 4 cups sugar

How to Make It

  1. Steep 1/3 cup loose tea in 2 cups boiling water for 4 minutes. 
  2. Pour the tea and lemon juice into a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir in the pectin and bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar. Bring to a hard boil for 1 minute. Stir the jelly for 1 minute. Insert a thermometer into the pot, and once it has reached 220°F, turn off the heat to test the jelly.
  3. Remove the plate from the freezer. Spoon a small amount of jelly onto the plate and put back in the freezer for 1 minute. Nudge into it with your finger. If it wrinkles, it’s ready to can. If not, cook it for a bit longer and test it again.
  1. Follow the directions for water bath canning on this recipe. Stored in a dark, cool cabinet, these preserves should keep for up to nine months—meaning they will hold you until summer comes again. If you opt to skip the canning step, simply refrigerate the fresh preserves and enjoy them within two weeks. 
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
163 Calories
0g Fat
41g Carbs
1g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)