Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bramble Jelly- Part 1

Blackberries are in season here in Britain and they are everywhere! It is not uncommon to see people beside the road picking and eating these sweet berries and we are no exception. Last week, Todd and I went to do some picking in a little grove near our house where the dogs could run around. Not surprisingly, there was very little dog exercise and lots of blackberry eating.  

In first one hour of picking we got over 2kg of blackberries (that’s about 3 quarts)! Its a perfect amount for making blackberry jelly (a.k.a Bramble Jelly).

Growing up, we had black raspberry bushes in our yard and I can remember summer afternoons picking berries and whining about the thorns that would prick my fingers! My mom would make black raspberry jelly every summer (in my recollection) and we loved homemade jelly! So, with my new project I called my mom for a few jelly making tips! 

One of the details she told me about jelly making is that you can juice the berries and save the juice to make your jelly at a later time! Perfect!

I took the 2 kg of berries and put them in a pot and filled the pot with roughly two inches of water. The blogs were a bit inconsistent about the amount of water to use. Some add less water and others add more to the juice in the end. It’s a bit confusing, but I went with the 2 inches and assume the water will boil off later during the cooking with sugar phase.

I brought my berries + water to a boil  and simmered for 20 minutes.

At this point, my beautiful assistant helped me to squish the berries in the hot pot.

Once the berries were adequately smashed, we let the pot sit and cool for an hour or two. After sterilizing my jam bag in boiling water for 2 minutes, we not-so-delicately poured the berries into the bag to hang and drip overnight.

A bit of a warning here that this process is really messy and most likely stains everything! I’m still finding splatters of this juice that I’m cleaning from my kitchen. In the morning, my jelly bag had stopped dripping and there was quite a lot of juice. Utilizing the sound advice from my mother, I restrained myself from squeezing the bag to get out a few more bits of juice. This, apparently, just adds more scum to the juice that needs to be skimmed off later and I’ve read that it makes your jelly cloudy. I weighed my juice and put it into freezer bags for hopefully a short stay in the freezer.
I ended up with 5.25 cups of juice from my berries!


The rest of the jelly making process I'm planning to do with two friends and their bramble juice. I'll post the rest of the project once we get together to make the final product.