Ooooooo my favourite, I love making jams and jam jellies, this and crab apple have to be my favourite. The berries are early this year, usually we pick very end of August into early September. We find them in a famous park twenty minutes from home, there are trees upon trees of them yet I have never seen anyone else gathering in all the years we have done it, we even have family picnics around the gathering day,  undaunted by this me and hub set of with plastic buckets and Molly and went to gather the berries. We needed 4 lbs for my jelly, 8 lbs for hubs wine and some to make a cough cordial. Once you have your berries they will need to be left open for 1/2 hour so bugs can leave for new homes, even so earwigs do seem to like elderberries so be prepared for the odd one reluctant to relocate, wash and de-stalk. Hub likes to use a fork, it saves stained hands, I only use my hands, I like to feel the fruits and can de-stalk leaving under ripe ones on just by the feel when stripping them.

Makes 6lbs jelly

Ingredients:

4 lbs prepared Elderberries
3 lbs Cooking apples chopped
Rind of one orange grated
1/2 Cinnamon stick broken in half
2 pints water 
Sugar – I use fair trade white granulated

Method:

friut pulpy and broken down
Wash the apples cut into pieces no need to skin, I like to de-stalk and pip so am weighing just apple but probably not essential as all gets strained. Put into a large pan with the elderberries. Add the water and simmer to a pulp. Simmer very gently for about forty minutes to 1 hour, till nice and broken down. Drain through a jelly bag. I aim to pick the berries in the morning prep them by late afternoon and have them processed to hang in the larder, (so they are protected from fruit flies or other contaminates), overnight. Next morning measure the liquid and put into a large jam making pan, make sure it is big enough to allow a rolling boil. Allow 1 lb of sugar to 1 pt of measured liquid, add the sugar to the pan and stir well. Tie up the cinnamon stick and the orange rind in a muslin bag or use the straining bag and tie to the side of the pan just so you don’t loose it into the jelly, allow it to be submerged by the liquid. Bring slowly up to a rolling boil, once setting point is reached (approximately 15 mins) but this can vary, so keep checking for set by placing a saucer in the freezer when cool use this to drop tiny amounts of liquid onto, if the liquid wrinkles when blown instead of running, set is reached. I do not like to over cook my jams so if in doubt it is better to pot than to burn. In the past I was not so good at telling a set and would often be tipping all back into to a pan a few days later to do a reboil which in every case then set. With practice you can usually tell by not only sight but also by aroma and sense of working with the jelly or jam. When ready remove from heat and remove the muslin bag. Its easier if you have a funnel to place over the neck of the jars and then ladle the liquid through this. Fill the first jar a little and move to another jar, then return to fill to top. I’v never had a jar crack but this was how I was taught and I think its good practice to be safe than sorry. Its good to warm the sterilized jars first by placing in gentle heat in the oven. Place waxed disk on top of filled jars, cover with the cellophane place the elastic band

weighing the sugar
testing for set

rolling boil
in front of the elderberry trees

to secure and bobs your uncle, beautiful elderberry jelly. I leave mine to rest undisturbed for a day before putting in a cool dark place to store

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