Friday, 24 August 2012

Flowers and Fruit

The hydrangeas are beginning to dry out naturally on the bush now.  The bracts are becoming papery thin and the colours are beginning to fade.  They still look beautiful though so I am going to use them as cut flowers in the house.

I was despondent after my lavender plant died but then another lavender plant at the front of the house had a new lease of life.  I now have a tray of lavender heads drying out.

The blackberries continue to ripen and I am getting on top of managing them now.  I picked 2lb of berries yesterday and made another jar and a bit of jelly this morning.  I used to think making jams and jelly was really difficult, but it isn't!  After a bit of trial and error I found that this recipe works for me.

 Blackberry Jelly

Put 2lb of blackberries in a preserving pan with 1/4 pint water.  Simmer until the berries are soft.  Strain through a jelly bag overnight.  Next day, to each pint of juice that has come through the jelly bag add 1lb of granulated sugar.  Place the juice and sugar into the preserving pan and heat gently until the sugar has melted.  Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and test for set.  Place jelly into sterilised jam jars and cover immediately with a waxed disc and seal.

Things to note:

Make sure that you have all the things to hand before starting to make the jelly e.g jars, covers, jam funnel, wooden spoon, preserving pan etc. 

I sterilise the jars by washing in a dishwasher just before I need to use them and then I place jars in the oven on the lowest setting to keep them warm.

Do not remove any scum that comes to the surface until the end of cooking otherwise you will have no jelly left!

Have a couple of saucers in the freezer to check for jelly setting.  After 10 minutes remove the pan from the heat and remove a teaspoon of jelly.  Place onto chilled saucer.  Push jelly along with the spoon.  If it wrinkles then the jelly is ready to pot up.  If it is still liquid then boil for a couple more minutes until setting point is reached.

In my experience 2lb's berries make a 1lb jar of jelly ( and a bit left over).

Use a few unripe (red) berries to improve setting and flavour.



  1. Lovely photo. Glad you are enjoying your harvest! My blackberries are not worth the effort - being very small and not very tasty but maybe next year!

  2. Love the hydrangea picture, beautiful colours together.

    I used to make a redcurrant jelly with a virtually identical recipe. But the squirrels got all my redcurrants this year (little bugg*rs!). I will try it with blackberries!

  3. Gorgeous photo, I love hydrangeas! Thank you for the jam recipe...might just try it if we get some berries picked soon :)
    Hope you have a happy weekend, Simone.
    Helen x

  4. Some of my hydrangeas are looking pale and papery now, too! None of my lavender plants have flowerd this year. Thanks for the recipe, sounds delicious

  5. Thanks for those great tips Simone, very useful!
    I love hydrangeas, especially blue hydrangeas. In fact they are my second favourite flowers next in line to sunflowers.
    Happy weekend,
    Vivienne x

  6. Love the Hydrangeas; it's good to know that you are using the blackberries.

  7. oh I must copy this recipe, thanks Simone!
    The balckberries we saw yesterday was very sad, tiny and still hard and green!
    Glad you got some nice ones.

  8. Beautiful photo, Simone!
    I will probably never make jelly or jam, but love reading about the process.
    Hope you have a lovely Sunday, Simone!

  9. Hydrangeas and blackberries; some of my favourite things! I really appreciate your jam/jelly making tips.

    Thinking of you.


  10. my mouth is watering for blackberry jam! i'm going downstairs to make toast:) thank you for this delicious share,

  11. Isn't jelly beautiful? Such rich color as seen through the glass of the jars. Just having them in the cupboard makes you feel rich.

  12. Your hydrangeas are glorious :D

    I'm finally taking time to catch up with blogging friends and it was interesting to read your post about inertia as I've had a summer of it. Tasks feel like such a struggle at these times and I've found that a long walk often helps. Making changes is another good thing to plan. I hope you're feeling better now.x


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