To preserve elderberries, I make a a simple jelly that we use to make things like sauces and garnishes, but it's great as is on a cheeseboard too.
I brought on one of my favorite purveyors into the Salt Cellar this year for two things only: heirloom potatoes and elderberries. Granted I can get basic potatoes from other places, and I can pick elderberries myself, but getting enough elderberries to supply a restaurant is a big project.
The recipe is simple, pick and wash the elderberries, then add them to a pot with water just until they're nearly submerged. The berries are cooked, then strained, and the juice is mixed with sugar and pectin, then boiled like any other jelly.
- 1 Pint mason jar
- 4 cups Elderberries
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 cup water
- 2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons apple pectin preferably Cuisine Tech brand
- Cover the elderberries with the vinegar and water, then bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes on low heat.
- Drain the elderberries well and reserve the juice.
- Put a small stainless steel bowl or plate in the freezer to do set tests, and stainless steel is preferable as metal conducts differences in temperature faster than most other food-safe items.
- Mix the pectin and sugar.
- Bring the elderberry juice to a simmer, then add the sugar mixture and whisk to melt. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, and cook until it starts to hover around 220F, skimming any foam that may rise to the top that can cloud the finished jelly. Once volume of the liquid in the pan starts to drop a bit, start doing set tests, continuing to let the syrup boil.
- To test the set, drop small ⅛ teaspoons or so of jelly on the frozen bowl, and when the liquid threatens to set and hold’s it’s shape, and doesn’t run like water immediately, pour into sterilized jars to seal, or process in a water bath.
- This is delicate work, and many of the commercially jellies I taste made from obscure fruit seem cooked down too far to me. The sweet spot for me is usually right after the jelly hits 220-225.
This sounds like a nice alternative to cranberry sauce for the holidays!
Thank you for the sherry Friday night. Our favorite foraged elderberry jelly is Ull Gibben's (sp?) elderberry and sumac jelly. Thanks for the tips on gelatin. The Salt Cellar is great!
Nice to see you too again, Diane. Thank you.
I'm planning on making some elderberry jelly but I'll be mixing with crab apples so I can avoid the gelatin.
I like your blog covering foraging and using offal to make gourmet food.
Giancale or salted pork cheek would be another thing you could try if you haven't already done so.
I love guanciale! Learned to make it while I was working with a butcher from Rome. Bucatini all'Amatriciana is a favorite pasta of mine. Thanks for the kind words.