Every year I buy boxes of fruit jellies at Christmas time. You know the ones – oranges and lemons, limes and the red ones that could be any flavour really. This year, I wanted something more personal and healthy and I have come up with great recipe that only takes an hour or so to make.
The first thing you need is berries, I found some in the hedgerow (and some in the freezer) but they don’t need to be wild. This recipe could be adapted to use other fruit, Raspberries work very well as do Blackcurrants. I used Blackberries, Elderberries and Sloes to give the jellies a deep fruitiness. The Sea Buckthorn added a tangy, slightly tart flavour but if you haven’t any growing near you add some chopped up citrus fruits to the berries (see identification notes below).
- 70g Sea Buckthorn berries
- 70g Blackberries
- 70g Elderberries
- 70g Sloes
- 2 large Bramley Apples, peeled cored and chopped
- 300g Granulated Sugar + extra for dusting
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 heaped tsp pectin powder
Remove any stalks from the berries and wash them. Put in to a pan with the prepared apples, the lemon juice and 1 tablespoonful of the weighed out sugar. Cook for about 25mins on a low/med heat keeping the lid on the pan as much as possible. Stir occasionally and when the apples have turned to pulp and the berries are very soft the fruit is ready. Now push the fruit through a sieve into a measuring jug. There should be around 400ml of fruit pulp – set aside to cool.
Line a tray or sandwich box (approx 15x20cm) with cling film. In a dry bowl mix together the sugar and powdered pectin. When the fruit pulp is cool put it in to a clean pan, add the sugar and pectin and whisk. Heat the mix to a boil, whisking all the time. Boil for a couple of minutes – it will be very thick – then pour in to your prepared tray. Leave to set until completely cold then cut in to squares and cover on all sides with granulated sugar. Store in a cool place.
Hedgerow berries – quick identification notes
Sloes grow on the thorny Blackthorn tree found in hedgerows. The fruit is around 1.5cm long and often has a powdery bloom covering it. Sloes look like small hard plums. (the same family)
A thorny scrambling perennial which you probably all know! It can be found often climbing up walls and hedges. The similar Dewberry is also good to eat, pick the black ripe fruit.
The Elder tree grows in hedgerows and often on waste ground to a height of around 4m usually. It is the tree that has Elderflowers in June which turn to berries in late summer. Be sure of your identification.
You will usually find Sea Buckthorn growing at the coast, it is often planted to stabilise sand dunes. This thorny shrub grows to about 2m tall, it has narrow grey/green leaves and orange berries which form along the branches. Berries ripen in autumn and can often be found well in to winter.
Watch out! There are poisonous berries in the hedgerows. – Be sure of your identification.
Foraging Day courses available from our website wwwtastethewild.co.uk we also sell vouchers which make great Christmas presents click the link to find out more www.tastethewild/vouchers