When my sister and I were little girls, our mum used to plan one of our late school holiday days as a blackberrying day! Our garden backed onto huge endless corn fields, as I remember they seemed to go on forever (however they were probably average sized fields actually) Beyond the fields there was an area of thick woodland. I recall, before we got to the woods we would walk around the fields and forage for blackberries in the hedgerows. Our fingers were black with juice, our little arms collected scratches from the brambles, and our legs stung with stinging nettles…these were blissful times and memories I will treasure forever.
Now, every day I take my little dog for a walk, one particular day recently, I decided it was going to be a blackberrying day! I collected five lbs of berries, and … lots of scratches and nettle stings! I was delighted with my haul…
As I am not fond of pips and seeds in jam, I decided to make jelly. Although the fruit are blackberries, I kinda like the idea of also referring to this preserve as bramble jelly as I think it sounds more homemade and a teeny bit Beatrix Potter! … I ramble… onto the jelly…
Pectin is essential to successful preserve making, and is found in most fruit, however there is often more in sightly unripened fruit, so I collected a handful of “ever-so-slightly” unripe fruit to add into the pan.
This is the recipe I used. Rinse the fruit and put into a preserving pan with enough water to cover the berries. Simmer for about 30 mins or until the fruit is soft. I like to bash the fruit about a bit with a wooden spoon, squashing the fruit with the back of the spoon against the side of the pan to release all the juice.
Strain the fruit over night through a muslin or jelly net into a clean pan.
Next day measure the juice. For every 600ml (1 pint) of juice you will need 450grams (1lb) of sugar. To make sure the jelly sets I add fresh lemon juice (within the liquid measurement)
I used two big lemons as I wanted to be absolutely sure the jelly set!
There are special sugars for jam and jelly making with added pectin available in super markets, but I decided to use natural lemon juice as my setting agent, so used normal granulated sugar.
Stir the sugar into the juice over a gentle heat until all the sugar has dissolved. You can hear if there are any sugar crystals left by crunching a wooden spoon on the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 10 minuets, stirring occasionally, skim off any frothy scum from the surface. Test setting point. I find the best method is to put a china plate in the freezer, drop a little jelly on the plate and if the surface wrinkles, the jelly is ready.
While the jelly is boiling get your jars ready. Boil a kettle of water and pour into clean jars, then place them on a baking sheet in a warm oven to dry and sterilize. Pour jelly into jars, place a waxed disc directly on surface of jelly. Cover with either celophane or clean twist lids while jelly is still warm.
When cool add labels. I found these really pretty ones from Kilner for £1.50
As this is a fresh jelly, without un-natural preservatives, I would advise to keep in the fridge and eat up really quickly for breakfast or with home made scones!
My stash I gave to my neighbours and colleagues.
Thanks for popping by, sorry I havn’t been around for ages, this autumn I hope to be reunited with my blog, so do keep a look out for my next … what ever!
Little extra snippet for you from Snoo… “A cat has 32 muscles in each ear…”