Once again, we've reached the time of year when our hedgerows yield a rich harvest of blackberries. During a country walk a few days ago, we collected enough to make a small quantity of what must surely be one of our favourite preserves: blackberry jelly. If you fancy having a go at making your own, this is how I do it.
As with my marmalade recipe, I make the jelly in the microwave. I'm using blackberries here, but the process is the same for any sort of soft fruit. The timings are based on a 700W microwave oven, and all settings are HIGH throughout. As a rough guide, each 2lb (approx 1 kilo) of fruit produces four jars of jelly.
First of all, rinse the fruit, weigh it, and put it into a preserving pan or large saucepan.
When the bag has stopped dripping, discard the pulp and measure the quantity of the juice which has collected in the bowl. For each pint of liquid allow one kilo of jam sugar. Please note: ORDINARY SUGAR WON'T DO. Jam sugar contains extra pectin, which means that your jelly will set with much less boiling and much less effort.
(Other brands of jam sugar are available)
Put the juice into a LARGE microwave-safe bowl. The bowl needs to be no more than one-third full when cold, because the jelly will expand quite furiously as it boils. If you have ended up with a lot of juice, you may find that you'll need to make the jelly in more than one batch.
Put the jelly into clean jars and label them. Throw the bowl and all the other odds and ends into the dishwasher, make yourself a cup of tea, put your feet up, and finish reading my novel.