Thursday, October 9, 2014

Small Batch Corn Cob Jelly (and Mock Honey) - Toast Topper #48

It's no huge secret that I'm a member of the no-waste club - especially when it comes to food. I'm the one that eats almost the entire apple (leaving only about a pencil width's worth of core for the compost), turns a bowlful of scraps from the holiday's food prep into stock, veggie peel chips or fruit pectin, roasts and freezes bits and pieces of the grocery haul right before they go south and generally believes the food processor can do no wrong in the soup and sauce world. A few years ago, though, I came across a recipe that put my prior frugality ventures to shame - Corn Cob Jelly

Yes - not only do you eat the kernels with your late Summer BBQ, but those naked cobs are of use too! I thought it was a brilliant idea, especially since it a) was supposed to taste like honey and b) I had a mess of corn cobs left over from the Black Bean and Corn Salsa. I was already drying the husks to make mock "papyrus" paper, and planned on drying the cobs for firewood too... but if I could get something delicious in between kernel and kindling, why not give it a shot?

Corn Cob Jelly

I do have to say that I'm glad I made extra corn stock at the outset, since the first two batches were less than desirable. The first time around, I used the traditional, full-sugar mixture and it overflowed my pot when it began to boil (it foams a lot more than my normal jams do) and set off our fire alarm, bringing a gang of (admittedly calendar-worthy) firemen to the front door. The second batch was a low-sugar formula like this one, and didn't cause an emergency response - but I didn't add enough calcium water or pectin to get a true "jelly" set. Instead, I achieved a thick liquid-gel similar in texture and flavour to a light clover honey, which I delighted in using in a few cakes and quickbreads that normally relied on the honeybee's nectar. Finally, on the third try, the pectin, calcium water, sweetener and pot sizes were all correct, and I wound up with a golden, flavourful spread with all the nuances of sweet Summer corn with hints of caramelized honey. Try it on a piece of whole grain or seeded toast, melted onto roasted carrots or whipped with salted butter for your Thanksgiving dinner rolls - you won't be disappointed!

Shared with Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Gluten Free Fridays and Gluten Free Wednesdays

Small Batch Corn Cob Jelly (and Mock Honey*)
Makes ~2 cups, 16 servings
2 cups concentrated corn stock**
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp calcium water (from Pomona's)
1 tbsp amber agave nectar or clover honey
1 tsp liquid stevia
⅔ cup unrefined cane sugar (i.e. SucaNat)
1 tbsp Pomonas Universal Pectin
  1. Bring corn stock, lemon juice, calcium water, agave and stevia to a boil.
  2. Mix the sugar and the pectin, then add to the pot and boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute.
  3. Ladle into jars and process 10 minutes in a waterbath.
*To make a thinner, "honey" like spread, reduce pectin and calcium water to ½ tbsp and prepare as directed.
** For corn stock: cover 6 shucked corn cobs (halved crosswise) with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 hours. Strain and return to the pot, boil ~30 minutes or until reduced and richly aromatic. Use in vegetable soups, to cook rice or for jelly! 

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 29.1
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.2 mg
Total Carbs: 7.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.0 g