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Thursday, 1 October 2009

Blackberry & Elderberry Jelly

This is a heavenly, sharpish and almost free of cost jelly preserve, which is to die for with lamb or game meats, even chicken. It also goes well with a strong cheddar.

And the colour is like something Albert Irvin would like to use in a painting ! In case you never heard of him, he is my favourite abstract painter ever.

You can adjust the quantities, depending on how many berries you have picked. It is basically 1 lemon per 2lbs of fruit.

I use organic lemons because there is no wax or preservatives on the skin, and so you can safely use it for cooking. If you don't mind what chemicals you feed yourself - by all means use normal lemons.

Blackberry & Elderberry Jelly
2lbs Blackberries and Elderberries
1 organic Lemon
White Sugar

1. Squeeze the lemons to extract all the juice from them.

2. Put the lemon juice, the pips and the 2 skin halves into a large pan.

3. Add the berries.

4. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of water and stir well.

5. Cover the pan and simmer very gently on a very low heat for a few hours, until the berries are tender and very soft and squiggy. Do not be tempted to rush this on a higher heat, it will be ruined.

6. Remove the pan from the heat and crush the fruit with a potato masher.

7. Sterilise a muslin bag or cloth by pouring boiling water over it. Or do the same to a jelly bag.

8. Pour the fruit mixture into the jelly bag or the muslin, and allow to drain through at its own speed for 12 hours or overnight, into a non metallic container. Don't be tempted to squeeze it as you will cloud the jelly.

9. Measure the resulting juice.

10. Put the juice back into the clean pan and add 1 lb of sugar for every 1 pint of juice.

11. Heat gently, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved.

12. Now raise the heat and boil the liquid hard until setting point has been reached.

13. Pour the hot jelly straight into sterilised jars and put the lids on immediately.

Et voila - heaven in a glass jar !

If you are into preserving food from the hedges in interesting ways, and even in everyday ways, then this River Cottage cookbook is a kitchen bookshelf must.  It has loads of jams and preserves in general, from things that are in many gardens and hedges.
Click here to see 'The River Cottage Preserves Handbook'

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