We're jammin' again- bramble jelly recipe this time!
Jellies are a bit more work to make than jam, so they're a real treat.
This recipe works for any jelly- just be aware that low pectin fruits like blackberries can be a bit of a pain to set. Adding pectin or apples (whole chopped ones, crab apples, anything) will solve the problem. Commercial pectin is extracted from apples.
Of course, if your jelly really doesn't set, you've made cordial. Congratulations, and enjoy it!
For every 1l fruit juice, you will need 1kg sugar.
A tiny bit of water to stop the fruit sticking.
Pectin or apples (to add at the first step when cooking the fruit) if you expect the jelly to be difficult to set.
You will also need:
A large pan
A long wooden spoon
A cold china plate or jam thermometer
A jam funnel (optional)
Lots of sterile jam jars and lids (see yesterday's post for how to sterilise jars)
A jelly bag- or an old pillowcase or an old clean T shirt with the arms and neck hole stitched tightly shut- make sure you're not going to want to use the pillowcase (or T shirt) for anything but jelly again- it will never be the same colour!
Strong string or cord
A big bowl
Slowly cook the fruit with a little water until it's really soft and mushy- this could take anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours, depending how much and which fruit you're using.
Let the fruit cool a bit, for your own safety pouring.
Put the jelly bag (pillow case) in the big bowl.
Pour the fruit into the jelly bag
Tie the opening shut
Hang the bag above the bowl - carefully, so you don't splash. We usually hang the jelly bag beneath our kitchen table overnight. Other options are fixing it to a strong ceiling hook, weighing a chair down with books then hanging the bag off that, making a tripod of strong sticks... Wherever you put it, make sure nobody is going to trip over the bowl!
Once the bag has stopped dripping, you're ready to make jelly! Purists say, never squeeze the bag, because it will make your jelly cloudy. I say, yum, more jelly, and squeeze the bag lots and lots to get out every possible bit of juice. Also, squeezing the bag is fun.
Measure your juice (saucepans with built-in volume indicators are handy here!) then add in sugar at a 1l juice: 1kg sugar ratio. Yes, it's a lot of sugar.
Gently heat the mixture until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a rolling boil (you'll know it when you see it).
As with the jam yesterday, regularly test the jelly to see if it has reached set point. Again, I prefer to use a cold china plate and see if the jelly wrinkles when a finger is pushed through some cooled drops than use a thermometer. I tend to make soft-set but lovely tasting jellies using the wrinkle method, but horribly overcook using the thermometer. Which shouldn't happen, but... overcooked jelly is such an extremely sad thing to make- it tastes awful!
Once the jelly has reached set point, put it into the jars (again, check how to sterilise jars here if unsure).
Store jars which don't seal in the fridge and use within a couple of weeks. Store sealed jars in a cool dark place and use within a couple of years.
... and it will be crab apple and rosehip season soon- more amazing jellies to come!