For the first time since I planted them, I have an abundance of elder- berries. This year, I wanted to try elderberry jelly. It was a first for me.
|First batch of elderberry jelly. The recipe made 5 half-pints.|
Pomona's Universal Pectin for the first time. I've been aware of it for many years, but due to no local availability and cost, I've never used it. Recently, however, I had to make a trek to our area Whole Foods and saw it there. Considering how the cost of grocery store brands of pectin has skyrocketed, Pomona's was actually more economical because I can make up to four batches per box.
For those not familiar with Pomona's, it's desirability is because it can be used with any sweetener including honey, or it can be used with no sweetener at all. It can also be used with any amount of fruit or juice, and includes directions for adjusting recipes (unlike the popular commercial pectins which advise using their measurements only.) The only differences I found in working with it were that I had to mix calcium water separately (calcium packet included) and it jelled more slowly than other brands. Other than that, I'm happy to finally have found a local source (sort of local, I only make it to Whole Foods a couple times a year.)
I ended up with seven cups of elderberry juice. I made one batch (4 cups) with pure elderberry. I had to make up one cup for a second batch, and had enough muscadines and sand cherries in the freezer to make that much juice. The result was a mixed fruit jelly. Both jellies are very good, but won't replace straight muscadine jelly on my favorites list. Still, I like my jellies and I like keeping warm by the wood cookstove! It's a win-win for this kind of weather.
Winter Freezer Canning: Elderberry Jelly © January 2014