Making Elderberry Jam
This is what elderberry looks like growing in the wilds of New England. I've been nurturing a lush thicket of it growing on my farm in Standish, Maine.
The berries are very tiny, sour, and should not be eaten straight from the bush. But they're very easy to gather, and once cleaned, make luscious pies, delicious jams and jellies, and homemade wine.
This is a nice example of unripe berries, varying from lime green slowly blushing to pink before finally ripening to deep purple.
To gather elderberries, simply take a basket or large bag with a pair of clippers.
Once the berries have been gathered, (leaving some behind for the birds), sit somewhere comfortable, and gently strip the berries from their branchlets into a strainer.
Before the cooking of the berries, wash your canning jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse.
Fill a large canning pot half-full with water and bring to a simmer. To do this on my stove, I have to put the heat on high for the amount of water in the canner.
To cook the berries add 6 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup white vinegar to 2 qts. of berries. Slowly bring to a boil, then cook on medium heat until thickened.
As you can see I needed to double the recipe for the 4qts. of berries I had collected. With the additional sugar, the mixture filled an 8qt. stock pot.
Once the mixture is ready and the jars have been sterilized in the canning pot, ladle the mixture into the jars and cover with lids. (Follow the canning instructions included with the lids for modern canning.)
The pint sized original canning jars with wire are given to close family members who generally return the prized jars for future "refills". The modern half-pints are given to dear friends and close colleagues over the holidays, with enough stored away for my yearly supply of elderberry jam. I know I have to make it last until next summer's berry picking and jam making session!
Labels: Making Elderberry Jam