Friday, October 23, 2015

Adventures In Jelly


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/49/Elderberries2007-08-12.JPG/512px-Elderberries2007-08-12.JPG

I've had a jelly making adventure here on Dogwood Lane that I've been eager to tell you about. How can making jelly be an adventure you may ask? I'm here to tell you that this mundane household task can be an adventure for sure if you have to trek through the wilds to find your ingredients and then climb down a cliff to retrieve them! Now you're impressed or you should be.

OK, So I didn't do the trekking or the climbing my son did but you should still be impressed. These little gems are what he was after - Elderberries. They grow wild on the sides of the canyons around here and it can be a task to get enough to make anything with so I'm giving Zack a shout out here. 
HerbWisdom.com touts the benefits of elderberries as an herbal cure for colds, flu and bacterial and viral infections. I don't know a thing about that but, I do know that Harry Potter is pretty impressed by the power of the Elder Wand in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The Elder Wand is made from the wood of the elderberry so let's get our magic on!
This is what I had after stemming and washing, not really a whole lot to work with. These are so tiny and don't taste like much on their own as they are very astringent. I needed to get the juice from these tiny berries. I've made jam most of my life but I've never made jelly it just seemed too fussy and time consuming to me. Zack convinced me that this would be fun and I'm up for the challenge.
An internet search yielded little in the way of recipes for elderberry jelly but jelly is jelly so here goes. Gentle heating and mashing to extract the juices. 
I did not possess jelly bags so I made my own from a fat quarter. Quilting stash to the rescue!

My adorable kitchen twine holder, isn't it cute?

Elderberry pulp. Gorgeous color!
This is my fabulous and stylish rig for hanging the jelly bags overnight. A broomstick suspended between two plastic bins. It worked even if it was on the ugly side. Don't worry the sink is impeccably clean.
The next morning two stainless steel bowls of elderberry juice ready for jelly making.
Gorgeous!
This turned out so delicious! Absolutely worth all the work. I don't know about the medicinal properties but the taste is out of this world and completely unique. Can't wait for next year's elderberry season I hope I can persuade Zack to climb down that cliff again.

Until next time,

10 comments:

  1. That jelly looks so good. Such a beautiful color. hmmm, an interesting way to overdye your fabric. :-)

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    1. You're right Lindah those jelly bags certainly came out a different color than when I started. The jelly is an amazing color as well, scrumptious!

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  2. Oh Elderberry Jam is sooooo good! I have done the trek through the woods to find these and they are so worth it! Heres a tip for you...put the full branches in a brown bag and put them in the freezer, take them out when frozen, roll up the bag and shake the bag and all the berrys fall right off for you!

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    1. Wow what a great idea Julianne I'm trying that next time because these are a pain to pick through for sure.

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  3. It looks delicious! No Elderberries around this part of the country that I know of. I'm surprised how plump they look considering we have had do little rain this year.

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    1. These were picked and processed in July I just haven't had time to write about it but you're right they were nice and plump but super tiny, about the size of a BB.

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  4. What about elderberry pie? My mom made jelly but every man I know prefers pie.

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    1. You are so right about men preferring pie but I think it would have taken every berry we picked to make just one pie. Those things are tiny and I was trying to make them go a long way. Next time I'll tell Zack to pick more!

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  5. wow ... gorgeous colour and sublime taste ... but a lot of work stemming all this tiny 'gems'.
    I memory can taste my grandmothers elderberry pie still !

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