Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Elderberry Jelly

Made the first batch of Elderberry Jelly this evening being very careful that not one single seed or stem made it into the jar. I picked only the ripest berries - dark purple, almost black in color. The bush is just teaming with them.  A tremendous crop!

First the berries are washed and cleaned of all stems. Unripe berries are picked out and disposed of. Next they are loaded into a pot with a small amount of water, and mashed as they are heated.

They cook for about 20 minutes before being strained through a jelly bag.

The juice is returned to the pot. The seeds and crud are discarded. The juice is brought to a boil and freshly-squeezed lemon juice, pectin and sugar added. Looks like molten lava, and it is just that hot too. This is careful work.

Skim scum, if any, off the top and dispose. Bring back to a rolling boil. Sterilize canning jars and lids during this process.

Ladle hot jelly into hot jars as you pull the sterilized containers from the pressure cooker. Clean rims before screwing on lids. Process in pressure cooker for 10 - 20 minutes

It's so delicious that it is hard to believe that this fruit is growing on bushes by roadsides and left to wither. I wish every city landscaped with edible fruit trees so the citizens who are not lucky enough to have a garden could glean some of this gorgeous food.

Elderberry jelly has a rich tangy cherry-raspberry flavor. Great as a spread or with a meat dish (use it the way you serve cranberry sauce.)  Worth every second of effort! Canning gives me that old timey feeling. I like it.

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