Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Dotty About...Foraging!

Well folks, it's coming to that time of year when most of natures booty is up for grabs.

This week, I give you ....

The blackberry

(source: Guardian)

The wind-fallen apples

and lavender

(source: Telegraph)

You have yourself some extremely simple to make, extremely yummy to eat, Lavender Jelly, courtesy of Jams & Chutneys by Thane Prince, a great book, particularly for a preserving novice like myself (thank you so much Kate and Sal for lending it to me!).:

  • 1.8kg Cooking Apples (cored and diced - don't bother peeling, but if they are wind-falls then cut any nasties out)
  • A few blackberries (for colour)
  • 2 tbsp lavender flowers (always make sure you use edible lavender - English lavender is fine)

Pop these three items in a pan with 1.7 litres of water and simmer away for 40 mins til the apples are nice and soft

Strain the pulp in a jelly bag and allow to drip for a couple of hours (don't be tempted to squeeze any juice out as it will give you cloudy jelly!)

Measure the resulting juice and weigh out the sugar accordingly:

  • 450g white granulated sugar for each 600ml juice

Put the juice sugar and another tablespoon of lavender flowers back into the preserving pan

Bring slowly to the boil and cook on a full rolling boil for 5 mins

Ensure you skim off any nasty scum that rises to the surface.

Test for a set (I recommend the wrinkle method - pop a plate in the freezer then take a teaspoon of the liquid and put it onto the plate. Leave for a few mins to set, and push it with your finger. If it wrinkles, then it's ready, if it doesn't, then it probably needs a bit longer on the hob).

Once the jelly has reached setting point, pour into hot, sterilized jars, seal and label.

Good for using as sweet and savoury jelly, and particularly excellent on a warm, freshly baked scone!

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