Sep 6th, 2016
After ‘panicking’ because someone was poaching all the brambles, the season got into full swing this week and there are actually so many now that twenty people could go at them without making a serious dent. It is really a shame because I have now made 18 small jars of jelly, have processed and frozen enough juice for the same again, and also have approx. 20lb of unprocessed fruit in the freezer for pies etc. I’m not sure I can use much more, but on the other hand I don’t like seeing it go to waste, so perhaps I will get a couple more batches.
Two good tips for making the jelly:-
a) A sugar/jam thermometer is soooo useful. For years I have been messing about with saucers in the fridge and wrinkle tests. The thermometer takes a lot of the pain out of that.
b) Having said that – I could not get my jelly to come to 104C which is the magic setting point for jam (a bit lower for high pectin fruit). Try as I might it would not go over 102C, and the amount of boiling time didn’t seem to make any difference. I’ve had a recurrent problem with getting jam to set – and this time I discovered the problem. I had scaled the recipe (the River Cottage – Hedgerow jelly one) up three times because I had a lot of fruit. Don’t do this because it makes it difficult to get a uniform high temperature across the batch. As soon as I divided the syrup into three batches I had no problems getting it to 104C – and as soon as it reached that point it set fine. Actually you can see the change in the consistency of the syrup as it goes over the setting point even while it is still boiling.
The new jelly is very good on homemade bread – in fact it is one of my most favouristest foods. Odd when you think that it is also about the cheapest food you can get.