I love creating and developing recipes with tea, and I wanted to make a tea jelly for a while, but the only thing that kept me from doing it was the huge amount of sugar that I saw it’s usually used. After doing research and some recipe testing, I came up with a recipe with absolutely ZERO sugar that tastes amazing!
(Please note this post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you click through and make a purchase. I only recommend products I’ve tried and liked. Thanks for supporting my blog!)
A while ago, I purchased an Earl Grey tea jelly from TWG Teas (which was amazing), so I researched how to make jelly at home to replicate it once I ran out of it. The recipe called for pectin so I bought the first brand I could find on the store and tried a recipe based on a fruit jelly. Disaster. It used 4 cups of sugar and it never set. Worst of both worlds.
What is Pectin?
It is a natural and commercially produced ingredient commonly used in preserves. Without pectin, jellies and jams won’t gel. It is a type of starch, that occurs naturally in the cell walls of fruits and vegetables and gives them their structure. When pectin is combined with sugar and acid, it develops a semisolid texture when it’s cooled.
This is why many jam and jelly recipes use SO MUCH SUGAR, because they need it to react with pectin in order to gel. Also, finding the right temperature and time to boil is crucial, because overcooking can cause pectin to ‘break’ and lose its gelling property.
There are two main types of pectin: high methoxyl (HM) and low methoxyl (LM). HM uses sugar to react and set, while LM pectin uses calcium instead of sugar to gel, and is good for low sugar or alternative sweetener preserves.
Pectin is flavorless, so it won’t affect the jelly’s flavor and it comes from fruit, so it is vegan. It doesn’t contain any calories, fat, or sodium.
The most important takeaway here is to know what kind of pectin you have, how it reacts, and always use the brand’s recommended recipes as a guide.
For this low-calorie Earl Grey tea jelly, I used Pomona pectin, which allows alternative sweeteners to sugar and uses calcium (always included in the package) to set. As for sweetener, I used classic white Monkfruit, a zero-calorie sweetener that can be used to replace sugar 1:1.
The end result is a low-calorie, sweet and delicious tea jelly. 1 tbsp of the Earl Grey tea jelly contains less than 2 calories, BRAVO!
RELATED: Masala Chai Milk Spread
Jelly vs. Jam
Just for clarification purposes, I want to make a distinction of what differentiates a jelly from a jam. Jam is made of any fruit that has been cooked with sugar, and pureed/mashed into a spreadable texture, where jelly is made from juice, not pulp, and it relies on pectin to set. If you want more detail on the differences between jellies, jams, marmalades, etc. Check out this article.
Most preserves are made from fruit, but they can also be made from vegetables, herbs, flowers, and even tea and wine.
Tea Jelly and Food Pairing
Ahhhh one of my favorite things! I love to pair tea and food, and doing it with this jelly is no different. This Earl Grey tea jelly has an intense Earl Grey flavor, but it is also slightly citric because of the addition of lemon juice and pectin.
The basic principles of tea and food pairing are matching or complementing. But keep in mind that it’s a very subjective matter, too. The idea behind complementing is to pair tea and food that have different flavors or textures, and when combined, create a beautiful harmony inside your mouth. A creamy cheese, or chocolate, for example, can make an astringent tea feel less astringent.
Matching flavors or textures when pairing means that you don’t want either the tea or the food to overpower the other in your mouth. You’ll choose a delicate tea to accompany a delicate flavor, like a Bai Mu Dan white tea with a peach galette.
The first pairing I made was with cheese, of course. I tried an aged Manchego with the jelly and it was absolutely wonderful, a perfect combo! I didn’t have any other home, but I would also try it with a softer cheese, like camembert. I’m no cheese expert, but I bet this jelly should go well with several types of cheese that are not too sharp.
More ways to pair and enjoy this jelly would be with scones, over a panna cotta, and with shortbread cookies, to name a few ideas.
RELATED: Tea Shortbread Cookies
Recipe Ingredients and Notes
When cooking with tea, always remember to make your concentrate (in this case the jelly base) using more amount of tea, instead of longer steeping times.
The only time I use tea bags is when I cook. It is more practical, and you don’t necessarily need the beeeest quality of tea. I used this exact Earl Grey tea to make this recipe but if you have loose leaf at home you can also use it to make this tea jelly recipe.To accentuate the bergamot on the Earl Grey, I added 2 drops of food-grade Bergamot oil.
Can I use another pectin brand? No. The pectin brand and type to use for this recipe is very relevant. I tested this recipe with different brands and it didn’t work. Stick to Pomona powdered pectin for this particular recipe.
Can I use another sweetener? Yes. To make this recipe low calorie, I made it with classic white Monkfruit, but you can use ANY alternative sweetener (besides sugar) like stevia, agave, honey, etc. When doing so, make sure you replace for the equivalent 3/4 cups of Monkfruit (for example you’d use only 1/3-1/2 cup of honey).
Will this recipe work with any other tea? Yes. The only thing that you should consider is that this recipe uses lemon, so the final jelly will have a slightly citric flavor. You can use any tea to brew your base and replace Earl Grey. Just follow the instructions and you should have a great tasting tea jelly.
How long does the jelly last? If you go through the proper canning process you should be able to store it in a cool, dry place for up to a year, and once it’s open, store in the fridge and enjoy within 3 weeks. If you don’t go through a canning process, just store it in the fridge and use within 3 weeks.
Recommended Products to Make This Recipe:
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did, and please tag me on @Instagram if you make it, I’d love to share yours too! Also, sign up for my newsletter to get new recipes, discounts and access to my tea vault!
Low-Calorie Earl Grey Tea Jelly
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 4 tea bags Earl Grey (alternatively, 5 tsp of loose leaf)
- 3/4 cup Monkfruit
- 2 tsp Pomona's pectin powder
- 2 tsp Calcium water (calcium powder included in Pomona pectin package)
- 1/4 cup Lemon juice
- 2 drops Food-grade bergamot oil (optional)
- Prepare the calcium water by combining ½ teaspoon calcium powder (comes in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. (Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use. Lasts a few months)
- Brew the Earl Grey tea (tea bags or loose leaf) in the 2 cups of water at 200F for 3-4 minutes. Strain.
- Add the 2 cups of brewed tea, optional bergamot oil, calcium water, and lemon juice to a saucepan and mix well. On a separate bowl, combine the Monkfruit and pectin.
- Bring brewed tea mixture to a boil and add the Monkfruit-pectin mixture stirring vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin while the jelly comes back up to a boil. Once the jelly returns to a full boil, immediately remove it from the heat.
- Fill jars and let cool. Once they come to room temperature, close the lids and store in the fridge for it to set.
Sharing is Caring!!!
Share on Yum