Dad’s Bramble Jelly

I’ve been meaning to add a bramble (blackberry) jam recipe to the blog for some time now.  Not only is it my very favourite jam, the berries can be found all over the place in late summer/early autumn in this part of the world. 

Thing is, I actually don’t make bramble jelly myself.  I could and I would except that the world’s bramble-jelly-master is actually my Dad and it would be silly not to take advantage of that.  :)

So today my Dad is guest posting.  Below, in his own words, are Dad’s very thorough and totally fool-proof instructions for making some absolutely cracking bramble and apple jelly.  Enjoy.

Bramble and Apple Jelly

 2 kg wild brambles

½ Kg green apples

Around 1 ½ Kg sugar

Gently wash the brambles in a basin of water and pick out the floating bits. Pour out the water and place the brambles in a pot.  Wash and core (do not peel) the apples then chop them into 10mm slices and add to the brambles. Add around 50mm of cold water to the bottom of the pot and place it on a medium ring.

When the water has started to boil through the fruit reduce the heat to a good simmer and stir occasionally. Continue simmering for around 20 minutes or until all the brambles and apples have softened into a lovely deep red goo. At this point it may help to squeeze the mix very gently against the side of the pot with a large spoon as this can release extra juice from the brambles.

Turn off the heat and allow the goo to cool slightly then pour it into a jelly bag suspended above a large bowl to catch the juice. This should be left to drip for a few hours or even overnight.

Weigh the juice then pour it into a pot and bring it to the boil. (Note you may wish to use only a portion of the juice to make jelly and freeze the rest for later. See * below.) Add the sugar to the pot using same Kg sugar for Kg juice and stir it in gently. Note it is not necessary to use jam sugar as the green apples do the same job as the pectin in jam sugar. Bring the pot back to a fairly active boil and stir it occasionally. Continue to boil for about 15 minutes then test the jelly.

To test the jelly I find the following method is simple and works well. Place an ice cube in a shallow bowl and on top of a piece of kitchen roll to prevent it slipping about. Dip a soup spoon into the boiling jelly then remove it with only a skin of jelly on the spoon. Place the spoon on the ice cube and with the handle resting on the rim of the bowl. This cools the spoon quickly and if the jelly is ready there should be fairly stiff film on the surface of the spoon.

When the jelly is ready remove it from the heat and let it stand for a few minutes then pour it into sterilised jars. As soon as the jars are cool cover the surface of the jelly with a generous layer of cling film tucked well into the sides of the jar then seal the lid.

The jelly will stay fresh in the fridge for a few months but the jelly also freezes very well if you wish to keep it for use over the winter.

* It is also very useful to freeze a container of the juice if you wish to make fresh jelly later in the year.

* The juice is also very good as a base for a fruit coulis and it can also be useful to fill a few yogurt containers or small jars and freeze them.

(the man himself)

31 thoughts on “Dad’s Bramble Jelly

  1. meticulous instructions ~ thanks Wendy’s Dad!
    sounds delicious and what a lovely autumn picture, i think most of the blackberries have gone from here now ~ English midlands, but i am growing a cultivated blackberry ~ bit larger fruit and no prickles!! so hopefully next year i will be able to make the lovely jelly ~ can you substitute elderberries for any of this?

    • I followed this recipe 2 weeks ago and was so delighted with the result that I have been to pick another 8 pounds of brambles.
      I made some plain bramble jelly which was delicious but after trying your Dad’s recipe, I am hooked. The apples add a certain depth and accentuate the flavour of the brambles quite apart from giving the jelly a perfect set.
      Brilliant, easy to follow recipe which will go in my favourite recipe book for future pickings.
      Thank you to you and your Dad for sharing it with us.

  2. thanks Wendy’s dad, that’s the first time I’ve heard a proper explaination of how the ‘crinkle’ test for checking the setting point works. I made a similar preserve called Hedgerow Jelly and bunged some elderberries from the allotment in too. Such amazing colours aren’t they :o)

  3. now we see where your culinary skills come from – I am most impressed – my dad can’t cook at all (shhh – he doesn’t like people to know) – and that jam would be wonderful on some of the bread you have been showing us lately

  4. Pippa – I have to say, I have no idea! Let me know if you try it. :)

    Helen – Oh, do. It’s the loveliest colour too.

    Nip It In The Bud – Think you just answered Pippa’s question. :)

    AOB – That is a tragedy indeed. Reason?

    Alison – Shall pass that on!

    Joanna – Jam, steak and omelettes are Dad’s specialities.

    Sara – All true. Am inordinately lucky in life. Shall perhaps have to make up for it in the next…

    Starwoodgal – lol! And now look at you…

    Christina – :) My mum’s a master soup maker too!

  5. Blackberries are viewed as a nasty, thorny, easily spreading weeds in this part of the world and in NZ.

    Keep in mind the different environments. In NZ for example the homesick Scots bought out gorse plants and instead of being neatly confined to hedges they self seeded and even now the hillsides of my hometown are yellow with rampant gorse. Can’t make jam from gorse but even with their luscious berries, blackberries are seen as weeds and treated accordingly.

  6. I am very impress with your recipe , i have never attempted to make jelly/jams before , now i will definitely do so , as my husband and i always go brambling , but we only make bramble crumble . I love your country and all the wild fruits available freely !!!

  7. I made this Jelly from your dads recipe last year and it turned out beautifully so much so that my friend has instructed me that we are going out bramble picking in the very near future. Thanks for your easy to follow instructions .

  8. Hello Wendy, could you give me any help in deciphering the measurements in Dad’s Bramble jelly. I am in the states and am having a hard time working this out. I figured out roughly the main ingredients but the water for the jelly I just do not get. Please help. Mary Crawley

    • The quantities are important, and that’s fine. Basically, the jam won’t set until the sugar concentration is high enough. i.e., if you put in too much water, then you have to boil the surplus away. The proportion of fruit to syrup (water + sugar) also doesn’t matter – the more fruit, the stronger the flavour.

      • Oh, and the pectin (from the apples) is also an essential ingredient in the “syrup”, without which the jelly won’t set. Setting temperature can vary from 104 degrees F to maybe 110 degrees F. It all depends on the wrinkle test !

  9. Thank you dear Wendy for the water amount in the bramble jelly. I had already made the jelly and was keeping my fingers crossed that I had put in the right amount and yes, I had. Turned out great, beautiful colour and consistency. Thank you to Dad too. Mary

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  11. Hello wendy wanted to make some jam came across your site never made before, problem what is a jelly bag? I have also made your plum jam brill so easy thank you and your dad.

  12. Turned 3 kg of brambles from the local golf course into this recipe on Tuesday. Absolutely wonderful result and I am thrilled at my first jam making venture. As usual, despite my vast collection of recipe books, I have been able to rely on you, Wendy. Time that you wrote that book!.

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