|Autumn at the farmhouse|
We weren’t ready to make elderberry jelly until Sunday morning. As you’ll recall from the pre-event post, on Wednesday Mike and I picked elderberries from a very sincere bush, and I processed the juice. I also processed juice from country apples. Apple juice tames the flavor of elderberries.
For several years, Hallie and Nick have used Pomona’s pectin rather than the more common grocery-store brands because it calls for less sugar, allows for adjustments, and is perhaps a softer set. With Pomona’s, you can make any amount of jelly you wish – from a small batch to larger ones, whereas other brands insist on a set recipe. So, I decided to give Pomona’s a try.
|A northern view|
Hallie and I started with a double batch in order to make quick work of this process. (If I’d been thinking, I would have suggested experimenting with a half batch.) I can’t recall the amount of juice, but we used the maximum amount of sugar suggested for elderberry jelly, which was only four cups. Hallie said we could taste and make adjustments before before ladling into jars. However, we forgot. I have one word for that batch – BLEAH! But Hallie thought Nick might like it. “There’s a point at which the sugar overwhelms the taste of the berries,” she pointed out. Yes, but we weren’t nearly there.
|Long evening shadows|
So, we had enough juice to make another batch. This time I added the recommended amount of sugar plus an extra cup. We remembered to taste and decided it was fine.
Sunday was a beautiful day, and in the afternoon, Hallie decided she really wanted to pick elderberries as part of the experience. And since Nick couldn’t come this year, she thought it would be a nice idea to take juice home with her. It was late in the day and I had misgivings. I could see that we / she would be working into the night, and these days I seldom work on my feet in the evening hours. But – Hallie was determined, and so at 4:00 p.m. we went off to pick elderberries. I took her to the sincere bush, and she was impressed that it was indeed loaded with clumps of plump little elderberries. It was just a matter of pulling them into reach – easier said than done – and then snapping the clump off the bush. And they were ready to snap, too. Mike also came and the three of us picked lots of berries.
And yes, Hallie was indeed working into the night while I sat with my feet up. But – she’s been my daughter all these years and knows about how far I go.
|More evening sun|
At breakfast Monday morning, we had toast and jelly with our scrambled eggs and agreed that the second (sweeter) batch of jelly does have a nice spreadable set. And before Hallie left to return to Seattle, we divided the jars of jelly and the jars of juice. I hope to make more elderberry jelly before the P.E.O. silent auction in November. Sisters are already requesting it, and I'm thinking I might make a really sweet batch with the old-fashioned pectin. After all, my reputation is at stake. KW