Wednesday 21 September 2011

Blue Skies and Bramble Jelly 2011

Over the weekend it was time to make bramble jelly from the berries collected on my Saturday cycle ride.

I checked last year to see which recipe I'd used. By the way, if you don't already have the "search this blog" widget on your blog I suggest you add it, it's very useful. Anyway, I used the same recipe again this year, it worked so why change.

One problem; I'd forgotten I needed some cooking apples. As I didn't have any I went out to the garden to check the crab apple harvest...

...not good! I think most of the apple blossom blew away with the storm we had in May so there was very little left to develop into fruit.

So, no crab apple jelly this year (things were looking so promising back in April, and I'd been looking forward to lots of apples since last September too), but the fruit could instead be used for the bramble jelly (the apples act as a source of pectin to help the jelly set)

All the fruit was boiled on Saturday evening and left in the muslin to drain over night. There was some amount of beasties in amongst the bramble berries. Before boiling I picked over each and every berry removing numerous millipedes, one centipede and a few spiders. Another reason why I prefer to make bramble jelly rather than jam (other than preferring the taste & texture) is that I know that even if I miss some of the bugs then at least they won't make it through the muslin when the boiled fruit is drained.

The next morning (Sunday) dawned beautiful and sunny, so the rest of the jelly preparation was left till later... the meantime I took A, N and myself for a quick visit to the loch.

A was particularly taken with the sparkly water and insisted I photograph it for my blog.

I liked these teasels.

Much fun was had at the play park (quick, take the photo before I fall).

Then back again to the car. Loving the blue skies and fluffy clouds.

Looking across the wetlands and loch to the folly. A little umberllifer has managed to sneak into the bottom left corner...

...just asking for a silhoutte photo.

Such a gorgeous afternoon. Unfortunately it was a rushed visit as we had to be back for a 3 yr olds party which involved being shut inside a soft play area for the rest of the afternoon, grr.

One of the things I like about this time of year is that the evening sky as seen from our back door starts to look most attractive at times. As Saturday night fell and I prepared to boil the jelly, these little wispy clouds glowed pinkly pale in the setting sun.

Testing for setting - a spoonful of the jelly (when placed on a saucer cooled in the freezer for a few minutes) wrinkles when pushed. I have to boil the jelly for much longer than the recipe suggests. I expected it this year so the process wasn't such a trial as it seemed last year.

However, I was still a little disappointed with the yield. I'd rather optimistically prepared ten jars but ended up with only four and a little bit from 2kg of fruit. I'll just need to pick more berries, fortunately there are still plenty left ripening on the bushes.

For reference when I check back next year - I used a soup pan for boiling the jelly, and a ladle and jug for filling the jars which kept the kitchen jelly mess free.

On Monday I managed some charity shop browsing (the main reason for the shopping trip was to buy more pants for N, potty training is proving a slow process and some of the poopy pants (the full squidgey ones!) I just bin, especially if we're out and about when it happens).

I bought...

...another pot for the collection. It's the middle one here - a little hand thrown and painted vase for 49p.

...a good bundle of ladybird books, all 19p each. I don't collect all ladybird books but I do like the nature ones.

...some other children's books, amongst which was "The Cornfield" by Vanessa Luff. It's full of beautiful illustrations showing how the field and its inhabitants change through the year. Here are just a few of my favourites:

And to finish...

...a rainbow, spotted yesterday at tea time.


Anonymous said...

Gorgeous pictures and some lovely finds. Your jelly looks lovely.

Unknown said...

Love the new pot, it's gorgeous!

Annaboo's House said...

Your nature photos are always so inspiring!
Very good charity shop haul, I reckon. Those ladybird books are very sweet. And cute little pot, too.
Have a good week.

Simone said...

You have captured some great photos. Lucky charity shop finds! I do like the sound of bramble jelly, without all those pips to contend with!

Lyn said...

beautiful photos again, Love the skies, I like making jam etc but hate the washing up bit!
what great bargains you got too-I NEVER find a good bargain!

Mrs. Micawber said...

What a gorgeous colour that jelly left behind in the pan.

Those illustrations are simply beautiful.

Whenever I see umbellifers (or plants that approximate to them) in the ditches I think of you. Although I have yet to get down under one to photograph it. There are usually too many sharp weeds and stinging bugs around.

Pomona said...

I find that our early apple jelly often doesn't produce many jars, but the later does - something to do with the level of ripeness or the water content perhaps. I love your reason for jelly making being to reduce the protein levels! We are lucky and don't seem to get bugs in the brambles down here - or maybe I just don't spot them . . ?

Pomona x

driftwood said...

I made bramble jelly this week, I didnt get much either. I add some salt to a bowl of water and give the brambles a quick salt bath, helps get rid of the beasties.

June said...

Lovely photos as always. Love that last one with the rainbow. I also like the ladybird nature books!

Grateful4Crochet said...

Gorgeous post, gorgeous pics!!
Funny, I just posted about sparkly water too :)


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