( 4 half pints )
4 cups crushed elderberries
4 cups sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
Combine partially crushed elderberries, lemon juice and sugar into a large thick bottomed pot and slowly heat to melt sugar while stirring to prevent sticking. Stir this mixture while simmering until the mixture thickens and either reaches a temperature of 220 on a candy thermometer or does the sheet test on a cold saucer. If it starts to foam I simply add a small pat of butter to control the foam. Once jam has thickened add hot jam to hot jars and seal. Then I process half pints or pints for 10 minutes in a hot water bath canner. Then remove and allow to cool for 24 hours and seal.
Some tips on jelly and jam making. As a child I spent many a year at my mother's side watching her make jellies and jams. I have continued with the same process. I take either fresh or frozen fruit and add sugar. Then it is simply a process of cooking it down enough to reduce the liquid in the jam or jelly until it thickens while stirring to prevent sticking and scorching. I do not as a general rule add pectin or Sure Gel.
Couple things I was taught.
Do not pick your fruit directly after a rain when they are full of water. That dilutes the flavor and is just that much more moisture to cook out.
Jelly making is not a process to get in a hurry on. It takes time to cook it down slowly without burning and requires lots of watching and stirring.
A small amount of butter added to the pot helps with foaming.
While I do own a candy thermometer I just do the sheet or spoon test. This consists of dipping a cool metal spoon into the boiling jelly mixture. Raise the spoon about 12 inches above the pot (out of steam). Turn the spoon until the liquid runs off the side. The jelly is done when the syrup forms two drops that flow together and sheet off the edge of the spoon. This can also be done with a cold saucer placed in the freezer.
I use this same cup for cup fruit to sugar ratio for blackberries, boysenberries, dewberries, gooseberries and strawberries.
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter