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Bramble Jelly

Nothing sings more of the arrival of Autumn than spending a sunny afternoon foraging for blackberries - or brambling. And what better way to preserve those beautiful berries than making some delicious Bramble Jelly.


Blackberries are a wonderful gateway to foraging if you've never eaten wild before. They are familiar, easy to identify, taste delicious and can be used and preserved in so many different ways. One of my all time favourite recipes for blackberries, is to bake them into a sweet Apple and Blackberry crumble, sprinkled over with brown sugar - a true comfort food for the season, and if you can forage the apples too, a very low-cost dessert!


You can find my own recipe for Apple and Blackberry crumble here.

Unripe and ripe Blackberries on a bramble.

One of my preferred ways to work with the fruits of the season, is to experiment with making different jams and jellies. This way I can enjoy them well into the dark days of Winter and beyond. We are a family of jam lovers, so we can never have too many!


Blackberries and notoriously full of seeds, so I like to opt for jelly instead of jam, as the seeds are strained out as part of the process and you're left with a lovely smooth jam/jelly to spread onto your toast or your scones. It's not a difficult process, but it can take a little bit more time than jam, but it is absolutely well worth it in my opinion.


A tupperware box full of foraged blackberries

If you're new to jam/jelly making, or have never done it before, you don't need very much in the way of equipment when you're first starting out. A large wide-rimmed pan, few clean jars and a muslin square or bag are the basic essentials, but you might find a jam thermometer makes things a little easier by taking the guess work out of things! You can also opt for a jam pan as well if you wish, but they can be a little pricey.


You'll also need your fruit, in this case blackberries, and your jam sugar. Make sure you use jam sugar and not just ordinary granulated sugar as your jams and jellies just won't set. Jam sugar contains added pectin, which is the substance which causes the jam to set. It is naturally occurring in fruits like Crab Apples, and you can also buy it in liquid form to add to ordinary granulated sugar, but I always opt for jam sugar, just to set my jam up for success!


A big bowl full of foraged blackberries

The ratio I always use for jam and jelly making is 1 part fruit to 1 part sugar. So if I have 1 kilo of blackberries, I'll be adding 1 kilo of sugar for jam, and if I have 1 kilo of blackberry juice (that's kilos and not milliliters), I'd be adding 1 kilo of sugar for making jelly. Generally speaking, jam sugar comes in 1kg bags, so its an easy measurement to work with and to aim for when you're out foraging your blackberries.


If you do use the recipe, please do let me know! You can either leave me a comment on Facebook, or tag me on Instagram (@forever_sunbeams), or even just send me a private message.


 

Bramble Jelly


Ingredients

1 kg blackberries, washed

1kg jam sugar

200ml water


  1. Place the blackberries into a large stainless steel pan, or jam pan, along with the 200ml of water and warm over a medium heat. Leave over the heat for around 15-20 minutes, or until the fruit has begun to break down and release the juice. You can help them along by gently mashing them with a fork or potato masher.

  2. Line a sieve with a muslin, or use a muslin jelly bag, and place over a large bowl. Tip the blackberries and juice into the muslin and leave to drain through over night, or for around 8 house. You can hang up the muslin if you have space to do so, but its not necessary so long as the juice can drain freely into the bowl.

  3. Discard the fruit pulp and weigh the remaining juice. Using a 1:1 ratio of juice and jam sugar, add them both to a large clean, stainless steel pan.

  4. Very slowly bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar before the boiling point has been reached. You can always turn down the heat a little if necessary, you don't want to boil the sugar.

  5. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, simmer for about 20 minutes until the setting temperature has been reached. This is where a jam thermometer comes in handy, but you can test the set of the jelly by placing a plate in the freezer for a couple of minutes to chill, remove it from the freezer and carefully spoon a little jelly on the the plate. If it wrinkles when you push it with you're finger, then the set has been reached. If not, keep boiling a little longer and then test again.

  6. During the time the jelly is simmering, you'll want to prepare your jars by washing them hot soapy water and leaving to dry and warm in a cool oven (usually the lowest setting, about 110C) for 10-15 minutes.

  7. Once the jelly is done, pour into the warm jars while still hot and seal immediately with the lid. This should create an air tight seal on your jars, meaning the jelly can be stored for months in the cupboard.

  8. All that's left now is to enjoy!


Homemade bramble jelly in a kilner jar

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The Cramlington Forager

Here I share my own recipes which I use to make the most of seasonal wild food. You'll find handy foraging guides and plant profiles to help get to know the plants which grow all around us, and to start you down your own foraging journey.

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