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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blackberry Jelly

Our mayhaws have been gathered and now we have peaches, nectarines, and blackberries getting ripe.  I saw our first ripe blackberry this week.  I will soon be gathering blackberries until dark each evening and I am not complaining.  I love coming home from work, eating a quick supper, and going to the fruit orchard.  We turn the radio up loud enough for me and the deer, squirrels, cardinals, and other critters to hear it.  I fill my bucket and then pour them into a gallon bag either for my freezer to make jelly later or for someone else to make jelly or a blackberry cobbler.   Last summer, we gathered 75 gallons of blackberries and that's a lot of berries! 

My mother-in-law taught me to make jelly.  We would take a empty gallon tea pitcher and pick berries along the side of a road.  This could take all morning to fill the pitcher.  There would be stickers on the bushes and we were always looking for snakes.  It is certainly a pleasure to be able to pick berries in our fruit orchard that grow on thornless bushes!

                                                      Blackberry Jelly

1 gallon of blackberries

Wash berries and place in a large pot, dutch oven, etc.  Cover the berries with water.  Allow berries to come to a full rolling boil.  Remove the pot from the heat and allow the berries and water  to completely cool.  I place a second large pot in my sink.  I put a large colander in the top of the pot.  I place a pillowcase in the colander and roll the excess down from the top.  I pour the blackberries into the pillowcase and the water that the blackberries cooked in drains through the pillowcase into the pot.  Next, I squeeze the blackberries that are in the pillowcase and allow the juice to run into the pot.  When I am through squeezing the blackberries to remove the juice, I throw away the pillowcase with the blackberries in it.  The blackberry juice as well as the water they cooked in will be the juice that you use to make the blackberry jelly with.  The juice will make several makings of blackberry jelly.  The juice can be kept in the refrigerator for several days to use to make jelly.

                                                      Blackberry Jelly

3 1/2 cups blackberry juice
5 cups sugar
1 pkg. Sure-Jell

Bring juice and Sure-Jell to a rolling boil.  Add sugar.  Bring to a rolling boil again.  Boil for 2 - 3 min.  Pour into jars and seal.  Makes 6 - 7 half-pints.

Note:  I run my jelly jars through the dishwasher before I use them for the jelly.  I place a towel on my counter top with the jars ready for use.  I place the lids and rings for the jars in a boiler and bring to a rolling boil.  I leave them on the heat until I place them on the filled jelly jar.  After a short time, you will hear a slight pop as the jar seals.

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