On our many walks around the neighbourhood with the dogs I couldn't help noticing the great free crops available in the hedgerows - abundances of blackberries, elderberries, crab apples and rose hips.
I have already been brambling - blackberry and apple crumble...
Today I was more adventurous, having found many recipes for rose hip jelly. There was a dog rose covered in them right over the road from my house. Off I trotted, and got the best part of a pound and a half. Completed the 2 pounds from a bush just up the hill from us. Realised I needed lemon juice for the recipe so drove into Duns. Couldn't decide on whether to use fresh lemons or just buy juice so got both. As it was, the juice of one and a half lemons was enough. Already had some cooking apples - a couple left over from the crumble and half a dozen from some kindly soul in Duns who had left a 'help-yourself' boxful outside their gate. Only other ingredient needed was sugar - and I had bought some jam sugar the last time we were in Berwick.
Now for the hard work. It took me over an hour and a half to wash, top/tail and chop up two pounds of rose hips. Added 2 pints of boiling water and simmered until the rose hips very soft. Sieved the whole caboodle to just get the juice/puree.
Chopped up apples - I used about a pound and three quarters before coring/peeling, and cooked in a little water until very soft. Pushed through sieve into rose hip juice.
Added about 3 fluid ounces lemon juice and one and a quarter pounds of sugar.
Boil/stir. Keep boiling/stirring. Tested after about 15 minutes - no sign of setting. Kept boiling/stirring. Turned up heat and boiled/stirred hard. Eventually it began to show signs of setting.
Poured into sterilised jam jars - my cousin Maureen suggested a good way to sterilise jars is to heat them in the oven to 100 degrees C. Cover top of jam with those little waxed discs you can buy. Wait until completely cooled before putting cellophane tops on.
Well, that is the first time I have ever made jam/jelly - about two and a half pounds in the end. I am already planning my next project...
Be more organised.
May be better to mash rose hips with potato masher before sieving to get the most from them.
May be better to soften apples in a little of the rose hip juice rather than more water - should reduce time required to boil.
Boiling means boiling - not simmer/boil but really boil the hell out of it.
It is damned hard work sieving apple puree...
Many thanks go to Paul for assisting in getting the jars out of the oven at the critical moment , placement of little wax discs and cleaning up all the mess I had made.
p.s. We have now tried it on toast and it is very good...
The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...
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