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Posts Tagged ‘Seedless Blackberry Jelly Recipe’

This year the weather has been perfect for growing and ripening, not only have we bumper crops in the garden and on our allotments but also in the surrounding countryside which is brilliant news for all the wildlife that rely on this natural harvest during the winter months.

Our hedgerows are simply overflowing with fruit just waiting to be picked.

Wild Blackberries

What can you find in a Hedgerow?

  • Blackberries
  • Sloe Berries
  • Crab Apples
  • Greengages
  • Rose Hips
  • Elderberries
  • Hawthorn Berries
  • Damsons

Crab Apples - church

What do you need to know before you go?

  1. Forage food only on public rights of way, if you are not sure or if you want to go off the beaten track ask the landowners permission first.
  2. Only take what you need, leave some for the birds and animals during the Autumn/Winter months.
  3. Respect the environment that you are collecting from and leave it as undisturbed as possible.
  4. Make sure that you are 100% certain that you know what you are picking, if you are not sure don’t pick it, some fruits can be similar in appearance to ones that are poisonous. Just because one part of a plant is edible it doesn’t mean that all parts are, some plants need cooking to destroy toxins e.g. cooking elderberries destroys toxins present in the raw berries, but leaves, barks or roots of elder should never be eaten.
  5. Don’t allow children to pick or eat wild food unsupervised.
  6. Avoid foraging on busy roadsides where vehicle pollution can contaminate the fruit, on industrial ground or on farmland where agricultural sprays may have been used.

What do you need?

  1. Containers for your delicious fruit – buckets/bags are ideal for larger and tougher fruit such as Crab Apples, Rose Hips, Hawthorn Berries and Damsons but smaller and softer fruits are better placed in shallower plastic containers such as butty boxes that will stop them from being squashed (Blackberries especially).
  2. Insect Spray and Bite Cream – be prepared, many insects especially wasps are just as attracted to the fruit as you are (Bite cream can often be used on Nettle stings too).
  3. A long stick with a ‘hook’ at one end – very useful for grabbing and pulling down those hard to reach branches, an umbrella would also do the job.
  4. Suitable clothing – a strong pair of shoes, long pants and a long sleeved top, some of the bushes are very prickly and care must be taken when picking their fruit (Blackberries, Sloe Berries, Hawthorn Berries, Rose Hips) Nettles are usually found in hedgerows too.

What do you do with your hedgerow harvest once you have got home?

  1. One of the first jobs is to sort through the fruit removing any that are damaged/rotten as well as any insects, leaves and stems.
  2. Most of the fruit will need a good wash, this is best done just before you use it.
  3. Decide what you are going to make with your bounty, have a look through your recipe books or on the internet, Jams, Curds and Jellies are one of the best ways to preserve fruit and they will keep well into next Spring, here are a few suggestions (click on the heading for the recipe):

My first memories of foraging – picking Blackberries with my Aunt and Uncle then coming home with bags of dripping Blackberries and purple stained clothes and fingers, marvelous!

Have fun, enjoy and love your environment

Gill

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Blackberries are plentiful this year and picking them is another of my favourite Autumn things to do, it is also the time when farmers begin to cut their hedges so to avoid disappointment a few years ago I planted a cultivated blackberry at the bottom of my garden and this year from late August I have been picking fruit every few days. Cultivated Blackberries are definitely worth growing, producing much larger berries than their wild cousins, and are often thornless making them child friendly.

Cultivated Blackberry ‘Black Satin’

Blackberries to me are the taste of Autumn, they can be made into lots of delicious deserts, I love their flavour but not really their seeds so when I have a good crop I make a batch of Blackberry Jelly which we all enjoy through the winter months. As I pick my Blackberries I freeze them in margarine cartons or ice cream tubs and when they have finished cropping I then make my Jelly.

Blackberry Jelly

Ingredients

  • 900g/2lb Blackberries (Fresh or frozen)
  • 150ml/1/4 pint Water
  • Granulated Sugar or Jam Sugar with added Pectin
  • Lemon Juice

Method

  1. Place the Blackberries in a pan with the water and simmer gently until very soft, press the fruit regularly.
  2. Strain through a jelly bag or muslin – I did this the first time but it took quite a while to drain through so now I press it through a sieve, although you do not get a clear liquid you do get more pulp and more taste.
  3. Measure the liquid and reheat in a clean pan.
  4. Add 450g/1lb sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice per 600ml/1pint of Blackberry liquid. If you are using frozen Blackberries you need to double the quantity of lemon juice. If you are using sugar containing pectin only add half the amount of lemon juice.
  5. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. It is at this point that I taste some of the cooled liquid and if it is a little tart I add some extra sugar.
  6. Boil rapidly until a setting point is reached.
  7. Pour into hot jars and seal down.

To give you an idea of yield last year I used approx 5lb Blackberries which made approx 3 pints of liquid and filled 10 medium/small jars.

Blackberry jelly

Delicious on toast, crumpets, and in jam sandwiches, it is also nice warmed in the microwave and drizzled onto deserts, ice cream, yoghurt, porridge or rice pudding.

A jar makes a nice gift or add one to a homemade hamper of home grown produce for an unique Christmas present.

I still have a couple of jars left from last year which will tide me over until I make this year’s batch, making jam is a great way of preserving your precious fruit have a look at out website for more ways to preserve your crop and how to make harvesting and storing fruit easier and safer.

Gill

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