making Hedgerow Jelly

September 17, 2009 at 8:40 am 15 comments

Hedgerow jelly_blackberries picked + wellies

I often leave a pair of boots in the back of the car for those spontaneous moments when unsuitable footwear could stifle your sense of adventure.  Picking blackberries last week with only one container I considered an alternative use for my wellies.  I wonder how many jars of Hedgerow Jelly I would have got from two boots full of  berries?  I didn’t follow that thought; I’m not quite that batty!

At the heart of all the best hedgerow jellies is the crab apple, explains Pam Corbin in the River Cottage Preserves Handbook.  ”The pectin in this often scarred and scabby fruit lends the setting power that many hedgerow berries lack”.  I wasn’t able to find any crab apples in time for this picking of berries so used Bramleys instead.  Hedgerow jelly_apples and berries in pan

To make Hedgerow Jelly (Pam Corbin’s version)

1 kg crab apples (or cooking apples)
1 kg mixed hedgerow berries (I used elderberries and blackberries)
around 900g granulated sugar

  • Pick over your fruit, removing stalks and leafy bits and rinsing the berries if necessary.  Don’t peel or core the apples (they’re an excellent source of pectin), just chop them roughly.  Place all the prepared fruit in a saucepan with 1.2 litres of water and simmer until all the fruit is soft and pulpy.
  • Have ready a scaled muslin cloth to turn the contents of the pan into and leave to drip overnight (see making redcurrant jelly for details of how to make a DIY jelly strainer and why you shouldn’t rush this stage)
  • The next day measure the juice – you will probably have about 1.2 litres, though this will depend on the berries used.  For every 600ml juice allow 450g sugar.  Put the juice into a large pan and slowly bring to the boil.  Add the sugar as it just comes to the boil and keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Then boil rapidly, without stirring, for 9-10 minutes until the setting point is reached.  Skim the jelly and pot and seal as quickly as possible.  Use within 12 months.

    A note about finding the setting point… I made this rather hastily last week before visiting family in London for a few days.  When I came back I had to reboil it because it hadn’t set (that’s what happens when you don’t have a thermometer and feel a bit smug that your first ever jelly making attempt was so successful without one).  I reluctantly bought a thermometer and while it’s reassuring to know it’s in the drawer I don’t feel I need it now. So what’s my top tip for being sure your juice has reached the right temperature to set?  Always use your biggest pan, never take your eye off it while it’s boiling and just when it threatens to bubble up and over the sides lift it off.  Guaranteed 105 degrees C every time.

Hedgerow Jelly labelled

Entry filed under: allotment tales, away from the plot, in the kitchen. Tags: , , .

hunting the hedgerows become a bulbmaniac

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rufus  |  September 17, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Hi nip, I’m back from a week’s holiday in the sun. You’re sending the gregarious gold-plated goblin to the Tallahassee Lassie, and still finding fiendish ways of eating, cooking, mixing and sharing these goodies
    from your distant English country garden. Well done.

    Reply
    • 2. Nip it in the bud  |  September 17, 2009 at 10:11 pm

      welcome back Rufus, hope you’re not finding it too cold back in Blighty.
      I’m not sure how Bilbo would feel about being called a goblin and fiendish is not how I’d normally describe myself (or Nip so see how Nic fits ;o) I like your poetry and fiendish comments {grin}

      Reply
  • 3. mangocheeks  |  September 18, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    My oh my, what a fab pair of boots.

    Reply
    • 4. Nip it in the bud  |  September 19, 2009 at 9:24 am

      they’re lovely and light for summer gardening but not so good for digging as they’re made of the same foamy material as crocs. Not bad for £3 though :o)

      Reply
  • 5. Bill Bartmann  |  September 21, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    Reply
  • 6. Fiona Mayhem  |  December 1, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Oh, I love making jams and jellies, and usually give most of them away (see Green Bean Chutney), but the hedgerow jelly I made is the only one I have been selfish enough not to share – except one jar to a very special friend who was moving away.

    I think there is something about the elderberry/ blackberry combination that makes this amazing. I also put haw berries in mine this year.

    Reply
    • 7. Nip it in the bud  |  December 2, 2010 at 11:52 am

      thank you for all your lovely comments Fiona. The jellies are easy to make but quite intensive with the amount of fruit needed so after all the hours of picking I don’t blame you for hanging on to your jars! I’m a huge fan of elderflower and find the berries an unusual taste. Definitely better for mixing with blackberries.
      Have you made any other things with Haw Berries? The Saucy Haw Ketchup is lovely if you’ve not yet discovered that post yet.

      Reply
  • 8. Fiona Mayhem  |  December 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    No, I also have the Pam Corbin book, in case you haven’t guessed. I had my eye on that this year, as well as the intention to make sea buckthorn ice cream, the ‘compost jelly’ (which I decided to rename frugal jam, which sounds nicer) and fruit cheese from the ‘discarded’ contents of the jelly bags. However I stupidly harvested my blighted tomatoes (for green tom chutney) – about 5kg, got given about 4kg plums, and went foraging where we picked over 10 kilos of assorted hedgerow goodies all in one weekend, and then I realised that I had to do something immediately with all this fruit before it all spoiled. I work full time, and was shattered by all the chutney and jam making over the next week after office hours. So I didn’t get round to the fruit cheese or the frugal jam.

    Next year, I have resolved to do smaller foraging forays, more regularly, and we went out and bought a freezer, which should help.

    Reply
  • 9. Nip it in the bud  |  December 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    I made compost jelly too and renamed it ‘Marmapple jelly’ and have made several apple and herb jellies using peelings.
    I love making preserves but it can be stressful having everything ripen at the same time. And staying up stirring long after bed time! I reached the same conclusion as you and go for smaller batches of lots of things.

    Reply
  • 10. Fiona Mayhem  |  December 3, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    And the slow cooker method also seems like a great idea! I might see if I can get my hands on one.

    Reply
  • […] Blackberries, a bucket of purple pickins amongst black nuance. […]

    Reply
  • […] Nipitinthebud says the modest but noble crab apple -sadly not available in the Children’s Orchard this year – is at the heart of every good jelly. This is their recipe for Hedgerow Jelly. […]

    Reply
  • 13. a forager’s paradise | Nip it in the bud  |  September 13, 2016 at 11:31 am

    […] Blackberries and elderberries: hedgerow jelly   […]

    Reply
  • 14. Sarah R  |  August 23, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Hello – can I use frozen fruit in this recipe? Will I need to add pectin? I have several kilos of mixed hedgerow fruits that I have been collecting for the last few weeks, and would like to make hedgerow jelly when I have time… Thanks

    Reply
    • 15. Nip it in the bud  |  August 24, 2017 at 9:41 pm

      Hi Sarah, thanks for your question, hope it’s not too late a reply for your frozen fruit. I’d say it’s fine to use frozen fruit having done so myself with my damson recipes. The only thing to watch out for is the amount of extra liquid you get even once thoroughly defrosted. It would be worth thawing and pressing out some of the juice I think as if there’s too much liquid it will effect the setting of the jelly. As a precaution adding pectin or using a jam sugar with added pectin wouldn’t hurt as some of the natural pectin may have been destroyed in the freezing process. Let me know how you get on :o)

      Reply

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