Making jelly and jam with foraged fruit
I have been doing quite a bit of foraging of late. Autumn will be with us soon and all the hedgerows of Somerset are laden with fruit. I am having medium success recognising fruits and so far have found and collected elderflowers, crab apples, blackberries, cherry plums, wild garlic, elderberries and sloes. Hopefully my foraging knowledge will continue to expand throughout autumn!
This last eight weeks I have been sautéing, forking, fermenting, racking and bottling up a storm, hoping to put aside a range of chutneys, cordials, wines, vinegars and jams to last me until next summer.
I made a fine jelly with some hedgerow fruit varieties that was worth sharing. You need to make it overnight, and I used that were naturally pectin-rich, so no jam sugar needed in this recipe.
To preserve for longer, I also sealed the jars using the water bath method, for 30 minutes.
Makes at least eight (8) 500g jars
1kg blackberries, washed
1 kg crab apples, washed, de-stemmed and chopped (rustic cut)
500g-1kg of whatever other berries or other glut fruit is around (elderberries, raspberries, plums)
Kilos of sugar- at least 3
Add all the fruit into a large pot, add just enough water to cover everything. Bring slowly to the boil and simmer until everything is soft and all the flavours from the fruit have transferred to the water – even the apples should be mushy when you press them with a spoon.
Sieve through something fine (like a muslin cloth) and let the juice drip from the pulp overnight. I used a thigh-high sheer stocking stretched over a colander.
The next morning, measure how much liquid you have now and add 900g sugar per 1L juice. Bring this mix to heat slowly until the sugar is dissolved, then put on a roiling boil for 10 minutes while you skim scum off the surface with a small sieve.
Pour into sterilised bottles and add to a water bath, simmer steadily for 30 minutes. I forgot to take any photos of this part, I believe I was overcome at this point with Jelly Water Bath Madness.*
Allow to cool slowly.
* The main symptom of Jelly Water Bath Madness is that I forget to take photos.