|Elderberries cooked down and crushed for the juice.|
While the juice was cooking out of the elderberries I pulled out a gallon of frozen strawberries and a gallon of frozen figs.
|A combination of strawberries and figs from last summer's bounty.|
These I cooked together to make strawberry - fig jam. Dan loves his strawberry jam but I never seem to be able to make enough. I thought I'd try the two fruits together to see what he thought.
I ended up with enough elderberry juice for a canner load of half-pint jars of jelly, and enough strawberries and figs for a canner load of pints of jam.
|Elderberry jelly and strawberry-fig jam|
Does anyone else squeeze out the juice when making jelly? I read somewhere we aren't supposed to do that because it makes the jelly cloudy. I do it anyway because I can't stand to leave any juice in the pulp. I want it all for jelly!
The other thing we aren't supposed to do is blend fruits for jam in the blender. I think the idea is to have chunks of fruit mixed in. I don't care about that either, because my fruit bits always end up at the top of the jar. I like them evenly dispersed. I suppose my jam is more of a jellied fruit puree.
The last one to make is my annual mixed fruit jelly.
|Sand cherries and blackberries. Boy, is it red!|
It's last because if there's any elderberry juice left, I'll add that to the mix. This year I had a couple handfuls of sand cherries and a handful of wild blackberries. Today I'll strain and measure it. If I need more juice I'll cook down some frozen blueberries too.
I think this year's batch of elder jelly was better than last year. I think that's because last year I got a fair but not abundant harvest. The competition with the birds is pretty stiff so I tended to pick them while a lot were still green. This year was more bountiful and there was plenty for everybody. Next year should be even better.
So that's how I spent the last several cold, damp days. How are you faring these last days of January?