From the sublime…

…to the ridiculous. Or from one extreme to the other, perhaps. Last night I made my second attempt at jelly. Now, the elderberry last week didn’t set at all, and quickly became elderberry syrup. This, I assumed, was because it didn’t reach that magical temperature, 104 C. Having invested in a preserving pan I was determined that this would not be a problem the second time around.

I have reached the conclusion that jam and jelly making is about instinct. My damson jelly boiled furiously last night, sticking steadfastly around the 102 mark on my thermometer. Perhaps my thermometer is out – I confess, I haven’t calibrated it yet – but it would not hit that magical setting temperature. Being a novice jelly-maker I’m trying to learn as much as possible about the technique, so was running the saucer test alongside the thermometer reading, just to get an idea. And according to the saucer test my jelly was done.

But according to the thermometer it was not.

What to do? My instinct said “Take it off the boil now! Pour it into those lovely sterilised jars, before you spoil it!”

My inner petulant child recipe said “But it hasn’t reached the magical setting temperature yet!”

It never did reach 104 C, but eventually I decided three successful saucer tests were proof enough that it was time to come off the heat. The result is a thick, glue-like substance that can be sliced rather than spread!

(I’m going to call it “damson slice” and eat it with cheese.

So. Third time lucky, eh??

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6 thoughts on “From the sublime…

  1. You’ve made damson cheese, like that membrillo stuff you get in Spain!

    I think I’ve read somewhere that you can take over-set jam out of the pots, add water and reboil it to the proper consistency.

    • I’m going to do a bit of googling to find out about that one… also asked on the make it and mend it forums for suggestions of other ways to eat/use it. 🙂

  2. I think it’s because there’s more pectin in damsons so you don’t need to worry about the temp. so much. Last year my Mirrabelle jam set really easily (plum family again) x

    • As I said above – I also used a different sugar, which would change the properties. But they were different recipes too, so one would assume altered to suit the fruit in question! xx

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