We made a lot more than last year and it’s surprising how much fruit you need to make a small amount of jelly. It’s like liquid gold but worth every minute spent plucking the berries from the hedgerows.
• 1.8kg (4lbs) Brambles
• 3dl water (1/2 pint) water
• A large peeled cooking apple
• Juice of two lemons
Tip: I find that the jelly sets better if you include quite a lot of under ripe berries.
1. Wash the berries first and drain well. Put into a preserving pan or a very large heavy-bottomed saucepan with the lemon juice, apple and water and simmer well for about an hour.
2. Strain through a jelly strainer of muslin cloth, but do not be tempted to squeeze the last bit of juice out as the jelly will then become cloudy. Just be patient and allow the juice to drip through.
3. Measure the juice and add about 1lb of sugar for each 6dl (1pint) of juice. I like to add a bit less sometimes to make it a bit sharper, but try the taste and add more if you like.
You can test this by putting a saucer in the freezer for half an hour and when you think the jelly has reached setting point, dribble a bit on the saucer. After a moment or two, push your finger nail into it and see if it crinkles, if it does then the jelly is ready, if not boil for another five minutes and test again.
5. Pour into hot sterilized jars and store somewhere where the kids can’t find it!
We ended up with about 4kgs of berries so scaled up the quantities and this made 3 pints of juice, so about seven jars of rich dark red jelly. At the current rate of consumption that should last us until the end of the week.
I hope this is not too late for you to get some berries from your local walk and my apologies for all of you north of the border, for whom the berry season is probably over.
I hope you like it! Simon x