So I made bramble jelly from the brambles I collected whilst foraging and, as promised, here is how I went about it. It’s really really easy and if I can make jelly anyone can ( my marmalade needs work but that’s a story for another day).
To start, give the brambles a wash and place them in a jam pan along with some water and the juice of a couple of lemons. I had 5lb’s of brambles so used the juice from 2 1/2 lemons and about 3/4 pint of water. I simmered on a low heat until some of the brambles had started to become mush.
Whilst the brambles are simmering you should be setting up your strainer contraption. First time I used this my hubby thought I was using a pair of tights! You can probably see why he thought that!
Pour the bramble mix into the strainer and leave. I tend to leave this overnight surrounded by towels as it can splatter everywhere and make your kitchen look like a crime scene.
Once all the juice has been strained place the juice in a jam pan along with sugar. I use about 1lb of sugar for every pint of juice. Brambles are low in pectin so I used jam sugar instead of just normal sugar to ensure that it set. Yup, I cheated but hey it sets every time and takes the stress out of jam making.
I simmered the brambles and sugar, stirring until the sugar had completely dissolved and I then left to simmer until it has reached setting point. I test the setting point by dropping some of the mix onto a frozen plate ( remember to place a plate in the freezer before starting to make your jam) and pressing with my finger, if it wrinkles its ready. If it runs all over the place, it’s not. You can also use a thermometer and setting point is about 105C however when I use my thermometer it never ever ever reaches 105C, so I stopped using it and use the frozen plate method… sometimes the old tips are the best! But I suppose I really should just buy a new thermometer and get rid of the old one.
Once the mix has set place into sterilised jars. I got 4 jars from 5lbs of Brambles, which is an increase on last year, so I’m pretty happy.
I would love to know if anyone else has been foraging lately, what you’ve found and what you’ve made.
After being away from this blog for a very very long time, its seems apt that my first post would be able foraging, scrabbling about ditches and bushes looking for brambles and being stung whilst doing so. This definitely feels like what I’ve been doing with my life lately!
Brambles (or some people know them as Blackberries) are usually in season August/ September and we are lucky that were we stay there are a number of bramble bushes and also that none of our neighbours pick them!
Last year, we (hubby and I) filled two ice cream tubs full, feeling very happy with ourselves, however it only made a jar and a half of bramble jelly. This year we set off with 4 ice cream tubs, feeling very optimistic and hoping to produce a whopping 3 jars of Bramble Jelly!
Hubby had spotted a new patch between the grain shed and the paddock so we headed for this new spot first but quickly realised a lot of the brambles were not yet ripe and some were way past ripe. We filled our tubs with a mere handful.
We then walked down to the bushes near one of the boundary ditches ( a place that last year had been abundant) but unfortunately we found the same situation, not yet ripe or had already been wasted. We have seen record temperatures this summer I wondered if this had had a impact on the rate of bramble growth.
We moved onto the patch behind one of the sheds, where there is also a huge amount of nettles. Here we hit the the mother load! Lots of brambles were ready and our hands ( (and my sleeves) quickly became stained pinkish/purplish from the bramble juice as we filled our four tubs ………….hrmmm…. we should have brought more tubs.
Hubby came in handy at reaching the bushes out with the grasp of someone who is 5’2″ and also trampling down the nettles. Despite this, I still received many nettle stings and scratches and half of one tub ended up tipped on the ground ( or rather violently thrown) when I was stung by a wasp. Fortunately there were still plenty left on the bushes that we were able to fill the tub back up very quickly and I’m sure the birds and other animals will gobble up the brambles I had thoughtfully dropped for them.
This batch was ear-marked for bramble jelly however as there are still more brambles left I’m going to head out later to gather more. Although I’ll wait until my hands stop stinging!