Blackberries are perfect for making blackberry jelly, a delicious jelly to serve at an afternoon tea or as an accompaniment to cooked meats and game. Blackberries are a treat that are harvested in late summer and early autumn, along with other delicacies such as bilberries, plums, pumpkins, and wild mushrooms.
This jelly recipe uses cooking apples. These add not just flavor, but also deliver a hefty amount of pectin. Pectin is a starch (a heteropolysaccharide) that, when cooked with acid and sugar, forms a gel. Pectic is used in jam and jelly making and the apples provide a natural source of this starch.
- 3 pounds blackberries (washed)
- 2 Bramley apples (or any cooking apples, washed, cored, and diced)
- 1 pint water
- 1 lemon (juiced)
- 1 pound sugar (to taste)
Gather the ingredients.
Take a tea towel or jelly bag and wash in boiling water (the tea towels may be tainted with food or detergent smells and these can spoil the jelly). Leave to dry. An easy way to do this is to suspend the tea towel or jelly bag on an up-turned stool with a large bowl underneath to catch the drips. If you are a frequent jelly maker, use a jelly bag stand.
Place the blackberries, apple, water, and lemon juice in a preserving or large, heavy-based saucepan that is big enough to hold both fruit and sugar.
Bring the fruit to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Avoid stirring as this will damage the fruit.
Gently place the fruit and juice into the jelly bag or tea towel and leave to drip overnight. Do not be tempted to squeeze the bag at any time as this will make the jelly cloudy.
Measure the juice. For every 2 1/2 cups of juice, use 1 pound of sugar.
Place the juice and sugar into a preserving pan and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the setting point is reached (see note below). Clear away any scum from time to time.
Fill clean, sterilized jars with the hot liquid. Cover, seal, and store in a cool, dark place.
- How to Test for Setting: Place a small plate or saucer into the fridge for 15 minutes. Pour 1 spoonful of the hot jelly onto the plate and return to the fridge for 5 minutes. Take out the plate and push the edges of the jelly with your index finger. It is set when it gets wrinkly and crinkly to the touch. If it doesn't, continue to simmer and test again in a few minutes.