The blackberry season is upon us once again, and it is another bumper crop this year. The entire length of the Fallowfield Loop from St Werburgh's Road tram stop to Wellington Road is lined with brambles, and, although I have a freezer full already, Julie, Creature, the Babe and I all went out picking on Thursday morning.
I have never tried making jelly before so decided to try a little experiment. There are lots of recipes online, only Delia was suggesting you cook the fruit and the sugar together before straining the mixtures, so I went with tradition. The basic method is cook your blackberries and chopped apples together, about half an hour until completely pulpy. The apples don't need to be peeled as you are removing the fruit pulp. I used 3lb of blackberries and 4 apples (picked up from the lawn). Some recipes added water, mine had a bit from having been recently washed but that was all (The second batch I added half a pint, so we will wait and see whether it sets as well). Then strain the mixture (no particular need to wait for it to go cold) either in a jelly bag, or whatever you have to hand really; this is an old muslin cloth left over from the baby years. I tied it up and suspended it from the kitchen cabinet door handle and left it to drip overnight.
The other advice is *not* to squeeze the bag to get extra juice out. Bugger that for a lark, what a waste, and anyway we're not entering any village fete competitions. So we ended up with two pints. Add 1lb of sugar for each pint of juice and bring gently to the boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes, then test for the set (put a spoonful on a chilled plate and push your finger through it, you should get a crinkly skin on the surface.)
Here is Creature helping out with the jelly making .... oh darn, I missed again.
It was quite a lot of work to only get four jars, but it is very yummy. I have a second batch of fruit dripping as I write.
Update 8/9/13 - I noticed on last year's jam post I had a picture of my new Doc Martens, and so I decided I would add an annual update on how they are standing up to the ravages of time. I did give them a bit of a polish before the photo but you can see that they are pretty much unchanged, some creasing of the leather but as yet unscuffed, and they have been worn consistently the entire year.
The soles have fared equally well and are showing very little sign of wear.