Autumn is the time to pick elderberries in Ireland, as well as other fantastic wild, tasty and free natural bounties! you will find elderberries in abundance in woods and fields up and down the country from September to November. Just make sure you get them when they are black and ripe (see picture) in big bunches. Elderberries are a great ingredient for jellies and other preserves. Elderberry jelly is simply delicious spread on bread with butter, with yoghurt and also as a sweet condiment for certain meats such as lamb. Here’s a very easy to follow Irish recipe to make your own elderberry jelly, tried and tested by the IrelandWays.com team:
What you will need
1kg of elderberries
500g of cooking apples
1kg of sugar per 1lt of juice
After washing the fruit, you will have to cook the elderberries and the apples in separate pots. Just add a bit of water to cover the bottom of the pots to cook them. The purpose of the apples is to add pectin in a natural way so the jelly will set.
Once the fruit is cooked, strain them through a gauze or jam bag overnight to extract all the juice. Measure both juices (the elderberry and apple) together to give you an idea of quantity.
You will then need to add 1kg of sugar for each litre of juice and cook until the jelly starts getting thicker (45 minutes to an hour). A good trick is to take a sample with a metal spoon and let it cool to see if it’s setting. Once the consistency is thickening, you are ready to jar them! make sure you have nice clean glass jars ready, pour and close the lids when hot so the jelly will be closed hermetically, airtight.
Get a few nice labels ready and you are done! These elderberry jelly jars make great little gifts for friends and family.
For more foodie treats, check out our: Irish recipes.