I know you’re probably thinking, “Whaaaat???” As strange as it sounds, this jelly is delicious. Some say it tastes like honey, but I disagree. I’m not quite sure how to describe the flavor, so you’ll just have to try it for yourself. If you Google corn cob jelly, you will find most of the recipes are the same. You will also find a murky history, and lots of speculation about it’s origins. I’ve been making it for more than 15 years (before I started using the internet), and I can’t remember where I got the idea. I don’t know if the memory is accurate, but it’s floating around in my head that I found it in an historical cookbook.
I’ve played around with my recipe over the years, and I do recommend doing a couple of things differently than most of the recipes you’ll find floating around on the net. To begin with, I use WAY more corn cobs than 12, I use lemon juice, and I do not use food coloring. I use red cobs which produce a beautiful natural color.
Side note on pectin: I’ve been using liquid pectin with no trouble for years. This summer every jelly I’ve made using liquid pectin has failed to set up. I do tend to make jellies from herbs and other foods that contain little or no naturally occurring pectin or sugar. As a result, I’ve switched to using either Sure Jell for less or no sugar, or Pomona’s Universal Pectin. Pomona’s is my first choice, but I was out when I made this jelly, so I’m giving instructions for use with Sure Jell. If you would like to use Pomona’s, use 4 teaspoons each of pectin and calcium water, and follow the instructions on the box insert.
Corn Cob Jelly
Enough red corn cobs to fill a 6 quart pot
4 cups corn cob “juice”
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cups sugar
1 box pectin (for less or no sugar needed recipes)
Place 1/2 the corn cobs in a six quart pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 1/2 hour to an hour. Remove corn cobs from liquid. The cobs absorb quite a bit of water, so I remove them to a colander sitting over a bowl, and then add the drained liquid back to my pot. Here is another way in which my recipe is different. I add the other half of the corn cobs to my pot of liquid, top it off with more water, and simmer my cobs for another 1/2 hour or so. I like the corn cob flavor to come shining through, so no wimpy 12 cobs are going to do for me! Strain the corn cob infusion through a jelly bag, or old T-shirt material. I usually get enough liquid for two batches of jelly.
1. Prepare your canning paraphernalia: water bath canner, jars, lids, bands, etc. (pectin insert usually includes instructions on preparing your equipment).
2. Measure corn cob “juice” and lemon juice into a 6 or 8 quart pot.
3. Measure sugar into a separate bowl.
4. Mix 1/4 cup sugar from measured amount and 1 box of pectin in a small bowl.
5. Stir pectin/sugar mixture into the liquid in the pot. You may see some clumping, but don’t worry, they will dissolve as the liquid heats.
6. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
7. Stir in remaining sugar. Return to a full rolling boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
8. Ladle into jars. Wipe rims. Put on lids. Process in water bath.