Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mulberry Jelly

For some reason, my mulberry tree has always borne fruit in late spring. It did, last year and every year since we've had it (It's about nine years old now). But this year, it's done so again now, early autumn. Checking out my reference books, they tell me this is the normal time for it to fruit. So what has it been doing to date? Mysteries.
We eat some of the mulberries, but most go to the birds. With this "bonus crop" I thought that I'd have a go a mulberry jelly. Here's how it goes:

1. Pick your mulberries, and tip them into a saucepan. Just cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about an hour, mashing the mulberries so they release their juice.

2. Line a colander with cheesecloth (or muslin, whatever you call a soft, loosely woven cotton fabric). Place it over a jug or bowl. Tip the mulberries and juice into the lined colander, and let the juice flow through into the jug. Don't force the juice through, let gravity do it's work. This ensures your jelly is clear, not cloudy.
3. Once the juice has stopped flowing, gather the cheesecloth up, and tie with kitchen string so you have what looks like a Christmas pudding. Find somewhere convenient for you to hang your "pudding", with the jug underneath to catch the drips. Leave for a couple of hours or overnight.
4. Measure out your juice, and put into a saucepan with the equivalent amount of white sugar. This batch yielded 3 cups of juice, so I measured out 3 cups of sugar. Add juice of a lemon, and a piece of rind too. Bring to the boil, then simmer until you have achieved a set (about 45 minutes to an hour).
To test the set, I put a saucer in the freezer while the juice is simmering. At about the 45 minute mark I pour a spoonful of juice onto the saucer and let it sit for a minute. Then I run the tip of a teaspoon through the jelly. If it wrinkles, it is set. If not, test again - I generally do so at 5 minute intervals.
At this point, you can't get too distracted. I have found my juice has gone from juicy to caramelised in less time than I would have imagined, because I've gone off to do something else.
5. Pour into hot sterilised jars (washed out in soapy water, then placed into the oven - lids too - at 100C while the jelly is simmering does the trick).

Off to Anzac Day memorial service now. Lest we forget.


Helen said...

There must be something in the air for Mulberries this year as "mine" has also fruited now! Crazy talk.

Paola said...

Yes, very odd isn't it?