Elderberries can be gathered in the wild during autumn. They are low in pectin and need lemon juice to help them set.
- 1.8kg elderberries
- 140ml water
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 500g granulated sugar (approx.)
- Gently wash the fruit by dipping it in a sink of cold water. This is also a good way to remove any eight-legged friends hidden in the fruit. Pull the berries off their stems and put in a saucepan. Crush well to release plenty of juice, then add the water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until tender.
- Pour into a jelly bag and leave to drip overnight. Discard the berries and measure the liquid. Weigh out an appropriate amount of sugar - you'll need 455g sugar to every 565ml of juice.
- Place the elderberry juice, lemon juice and sugar in a preserving pan and clip a sugar thermometer on to the side. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat and quickly bring to the boil. Boil vigorously, stirring regularly, until it reaches setting point (106°C) on the thermometer.
- While the jelly is boiling, sterilise your jam jars by washing them in plenty of hot, soapy water, then rinsing in very hot water. Place in a low oven to dry.
- Remove the jelly from the heat as soon as setting point is reached. Skim off any scum and pour the hot jam into the warm, sterilised jam jars. Cover with a disc of waxed paper (wax-side down) and push out any air bubbles. Wipe the rim with a damp cloth. Wipe cellophane jam pot covers with a damp cloth, then tightly cover the jars. The discs will contract as they dry, forming an airtight cover. Label and store in a dark, cool place.
- Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus overnight straining
- Cooking time: 40 minutes
- Total time: 24 hours
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This recipe was first published in September 2001.