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From The Deerholme Foraging Book by Bill Jones (Touchwood Editions, 2014)

Servings: About 4 cups


2 cups water

3 cups grand fir needles, washed and trimmed

1 cup sweet cicely leaves (or spinach leaves)

3 cups granulated sugar

juice of 1 lemon

2 pouches liquid pectin (such as Bernardin)


Heat a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the fir needles and sweet cicely and remove from the heat. Allow to steep for 5 minutes.

Using a fine strainer, strain the juice from the mixture into a bowl. Swirl the mixture with the back of a ladle or spoon to extract all the juices from the needles. Measure the juice; you should have about 2 cups. Add to a clean heavy-bottom saucepan and add sugar. Bring to a boil and add the lemon juice and pectin. Bring back to a boil, remove from heat and skim off any foam.

Ladle hot jam into a hot jar to within 1/4inch (0.6 cm) of top of jar. Tap the jar to remove any air bubbles. Wipe jar rim removing any jam residue. Place lid on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to gently tighten. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining jam.

When canner is filled, make sure the jars are covered by at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil, process for a full 10 minutes.

Turn stove off, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a cooling rack. Cool upright, undisturbed for at least a day.

Check each jar for a good seal. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use the jelly within one year. Any jars that have not sealed should be stored in the fridge.

Needle Variations:

3 cups Douglas fir needles

3 cups hemlock fir needles

3 cups spruce needles

3 cups pine needles

3 cups cedar tips

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