Saturday, September 15, 2012

Elderberry Jelly

Elderberry flowers, June.
I have always loved finding wild things and making useful stuff with them.   I've had a love affair with elderberries forever and they grow wild around here, just not on our place.   And somehow we're always so busy this time of year that I miss it when they finally ripen and by the time I remember to scavenge from the roadside bushes, they're gone.

This year, I remembered.

I got to my neighbor's bushes right after they were ripe enough for the birds, but I still got some.

I had only a few berries and I ended up with less than a cup of juice.    I added water to make a full cup, then added 1 Tablespoon of pectin and brought it to a boil.  I boiled it hard for 1 minute.   Then I added 1/2 cup of sugar and returned it to a hard boil.   I got only one jar of jelly, but it is the most beautiful jelly in the world. 

In.  The. World.

This is the color of enlightenment and wisdom.  Eat this stuff and your IQ goes up.   Really.   I'm not exaggerating.   

OK - I know some of you think that jelly is scary and hard.   It's no harder than making spaghetti.   Boil it, drain it, mix it with stuff, eat it.    Only with jelly, you keep the stuff you drain off and toss the rest. 

Jelly is easy to make.  This is what you do for any fruit that you want to make jelly with.
  • Gather the berries.  
  • Gently wash them and put them in a pan with some water so they don't burn when you forget them.  Bring to a boil.   
  • Put them in a fine mesh strainer or in some cheesecloth and squeeze the juice out.  
  • Keep the juice and throw the skins and seeds to the chickens.  They love it. 
  • Measure the juice.
  • For every cup of juice, use 1 tablespoon pectin and 1/2 cup sugar
Don't use more than 6 cups of juice at a time.   I like to use 4 cups per batch.  Put the juice and pectin in a pot and bring to a hard rolling boil that you can't stir down.  Boil hard for 1 minute.  Add sugar and return to hard boil.  Boil 1 minute.  Ladle into jars.

Want all of my jam, jelly, glaze, chutney and sauce recipes in one handy-dandy document that you can keep on any of your devices that can read PDFs?    Check out the preview of my book A Simple Jar of Jam in the sidebar.  You'll love it!


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