Monday 4 March 2013

Elderberry Jelly

Autumn is creeping in and the humble and much maligned Elderberry trees around Mum and Dad's place are weighed down with fruit. The blight of anyone who has hung white washing out lately, the fruit are vibrant and enticing. Having missed out on making Elderflower cordial this year, I decided to put these lovely fruit to work.

Yes, that is me in the ridiculous, yet very cosy, woollen 'round the farm' hat. I got totally carried away with my clippers and picked way too many heads of berries. In need of a recipe I consulted with that age old oracle of cooking knowledge: The Aunt Daisy Cookbook, first published 1968. The recipe calls for apples to aid the jelly setting; lucky the tree in the garden had plenty to spare.

Elderberry Jelly

Gather berries while dry. Pick off stems and clean. Leave the smaller stems on. 
To the amount of berries add one third the quantity of apples. Cut the apples up, pips, skin and all; add to berries and barely cover with water - leave over night.

Next day boil until soft and pulpy then strain through a clean tea towel.

If I was my grandmother I would have left it overnight and undisturbed to drain.

Put cup for cup of juice and sugar into a large pan and boil until a small amount put onto a plate sets with a skin on top. Pour into sterilised jar and seal while still hot.

Everything went swimmingly until the next day when I realised my beautiful red jelly had not set according to plan. 

While I contemplated offloading it to relatives as elderflower ice cream topping, the only real solution was to pour it back into the pan and try again.

Luckily I had a packet of jam setting mix in the pantry. 
A bit of mixing and five more minutes of boiling and I had a much better setting result.  

The jelly turned out really well. The colour is really vibrant and the fruit gives the Jelly a nice balance of acid. I'm thinking this will make great gifts for friends and family. 

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