This jelly is brilliant to have on stand by for adding loads of rich fruity flavours to gravies, stocks and casseroles. It goes brilliantly with lamb, game and beef and my fella just smears it on toast and eats it as a jam. If you can't find any elderberries this also works really well with blackberries which are still about around here and if not then use black currants that you can buy frozen from the supermarkets.
- 2kg elderberries
- 400ml water
- 200ml sweet sherry
- 1 sprig rosemary
- peeled zest of one orange
- About 1kg sugar with added pectin
- Firstly remove the stalks from the elderberries, this takes a bit of time. I find the easiest way is to tip them into a big bowl of water and remove the stalks in the water, bits of stalk and any bugs will float to the surface.
- Put your berries into a big saucepan with the water, sherry, rosemary and orange zest and heat gently whilst squashing them with a potato masher. Bring to the boil and let simmer away until all mushy.
- Tip everything into a jelly bag suspended over a big pot (I just use a clean pillowcase hung from a coat hanger over a saucepan in my kitchen) and leave to drip overnight. If you want your jelly to be really clear then don't squeeze the juice out. I like to give it a squeeze to get all the juices through, the jelly will be so dark you will hardly notice the cloudiness.
- Measure the amount of liquid and for every litre of juice add 750g of your sugar. Return the sugar and juice to the heat and stir to dissolve all the sugar.
- Bring to the boil and let bubble away for about 10 minutes and remove any foam from the surface with a slotted spoon. The mixture will be really hot so watch out for splashes and spits.
- If you have a sugar thermometer apparently the temperature for a setting point is 105C (according to Delia) but I just put a saucer in the freezer and every now and then put a few drops of jelly on it. Leave for about 5 seconds then push it, if it wrinkles it has reached setting point.
- Pour into sterilised jars, cover with a waxed disc then pop a lid on it. Ideally you want them to sit in your cupboard for about a month for the flavours to develop before using.