Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Beautyberry Jelly Experiment

Midsummer when I was looking for alternate mustang grape jelly or jam recipes, I came across a recipe for making American Beautyberry Jelly. I bookmarked the article and hoped for a good set on my beautyberry bush this year. I had never considered it anything other than ornamental so I was excited to see how they would be to put up.

Beautyberries are about an eighth of an inch in diameter and set in clusters stacked along arching branches. They are bright purple and the birds like them. I harvested a batch of berries the first weekend in October. The birds had started on a couple of branches of berries. I left those alone and picked six cups of beautyberries. It was a bit tedious. It takes A LOT of those tiny berries to make six cups. There were plenty left for the birds however, in fact as I am writing this about a month later, there are still plenty.

Except for using a chinois instead of cheesecloth, we pretty much followed the recipe to a T for the first batch. It made lovely jelly but it was also a bit sweeter than we usually gravitate to so we changed up the second batch a bit. We halved the sugar, added some lemon juice and used low sugar pectin. This made it more to our tastes and I wrote down some notes for the next year if we have the time to make it again.

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