Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Bramble, Blackberry Jelly Recipe - Tips and techniques for the perfect jelly.

I have been asked to put this recipe up for all to share.  My late mother was an avid jam and jelly maker and this recipe has been handed down and taught lovingly by her.  At this time of year there are always lots of blackberrie to pick and this year with all the sunshine they are really gorgeous, sweet and ready for picking.

Equipment you will need

Large saucepan - the pan needs to be at least 4 times bigger than the juice because when it boils it will rise up the pan.
Jam jars - any glass jars will do so get them for free by saving all your old (great way to recycle). You can buy pretty jars from a good kitchen shop if you fancy spending a few pennies.
Wax discs - these really need to be bought as they will cover the finished jelly and help to preserve it by covering the surface area of the jelly.
Lids or clear plastic discs and elastic bands to cover and seal the jars.  If you have the lids to your jars then save them and use.
Wooden spoon - for stirring, metal spoons are not a good idea as they taint the jelly.
Jelly bag or old pillow case or muslin and an upturned stool - to strain the jelly you can buy a jelly bag, but an old pillow case opened up and tied securely on an upturned stool works just as well.

Ingredients

Blackberries, as many as you want to pick
Water
Sugar - jamming sugar is best as it contains pectin (you can get this from most supermarkets) you will need 1lb of sugar for every pint of juice.

Method

Put blackberries in saucepan with 4 tablespoons of water per lb of fruit bring to the boil and simmer for 5/10mins until all the blackberries are soft.  Use a wooden spoon to stir and squash the fruit to get most juice.

Pour the mixture into the jelly bag or your pillowcase tied securely on upturned stool with a big bowl underneath to collect the juice. (do make sure it is tied securely because of the weight of the fruit )  Leave to drip through overnight.  Do not rush this process or try and squeeze or touch the bag while it is dripping.  This will cloud the jelly and it will not be a beautiful clear jelly.

In the morning the fruit will be dry in the jelly bag and the juice will have collected in the bowl.

Pour the juice into a large saucepan (remember at least 4 times larger than the juice collected) and add 1lb of sugar per pint of juice.  Bring the juice to the boil and let it boil vigourously for about 30 mins or until jelly ready.  Test this by putting a little juice on a cold saucer and if it starts to wrinkle then it is set.  The boil of the juice will change from a loose boil sounds quite fast to a slower boil. This is when the juice will rise up to almost the top of the pan.  The sound changes so keep putting a drop onto the cold saucer. (It's a bit of trail and error the first time but once you recognise this change then it is plain sailing).

The jars should be sterilising in a sink of boiling water and the boiling jelly should be poured into the hot jars immediately. If the jars are cold they will crack. Use a ladle and a glass jug to get the jelly into the jars so they don't spill everywhere.  *Warning* boiling jelly is very hot and will burn you badly so do this process very carefully.

The juice will be runny as still boiling so will pour easily into the jars.  As it cools it will set, hence doing this immediately.

Leave the jars to cool slightly but while still hot put the wax covers onto the jelly and cover with lid.

The jelly will keep for several years unopened, but can be eaten as soon as cold and set.

Enjoy!