For years I have been boring my family about going to pick blackberries - I'm always desperate to and then it just never happens for whatever reason. This year I dragged Joe and four over-excited Jack Russells out to the hedgerows near my mother's house and finally managed to get some blackberries to take home and make something with. I thought it was going to be jam... but then Joe found some crab apples and it turned into jelly.
I've always wanted to buy a jelly strainer but never did and so had a mini melt down at 9pm on the Sunday when I finally decided to start making jelly. Luckily my husband managed to rig me one up using a muslin and the cupboard handles but I now think I really should get one for any future jelly emergencies!
This was pretty easy to do - the setting point is the only nervewracking bit. For more info on jams and jellies I've created a whole page for them so you can have a look at that if you are having trouble.
Blackberry and Crab apple Jelly
Filled about 3 x 1lb jam jars
1kg crab apples
700-900g granulated sugar
Now if you have a jelly strainer then you will need that with a clean scorched muslin. If you don't then you need to rig one up. I used my largest saucepan for this and had a measuring jug under the muslin for the fruit juice to drip into. You will needed sterilised jars and lids and a ladle is handy unless you are clever and have a pan with a spout.
1. Remove all the stalks and any really yucky bits from the blackberries.
2. Remove the stalks from the crab apples and wash them if necessary, then chop them roughly - leaving the peel on and the core in.
3. Put in a large saucepan with 1.2 litres of water, bring slowly to simmering point and then simmer until the fruit is soft and pulpy. I think this took around 40 mins for me.
4. Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared muslin/jelly strainer. Leave it to drip through overnight - resist all temptation to squeeze the fruit through as this will make the jelly cloudy.
5. The next day measure the juice - I had 1 litre - and for every 600ml of juice use 450g sugar.
6. Put the juice into a large pan and bring to the boil - as it begins to boil add the sugar and stir until it is all dissolved. Then boil rapidly for about 10 minutes until it has reached setting point - I used a jam thermometer but you can use other methods which I'll put on my Kitchen Tips page - there's a Jams and Jellies section.
7. Skim the jelly and ladle into jars and seal as quickly as possible. Use within 12 months.