Walking by the hedgerows picking juicy red rosehips, which shine like jewels on spiky branches, is one of my favourite ways of enjoying a lovely autumnal afternoon. The rosehips can be used to make nyponsoppa (rosehip soup), a classic Swedish dish, or this delightful sparkly jelly, which goes well on toast, warm scones or with roast meats.
Rosehips have an abundance of vitamin C but they are low in pectin, so apples are added to help the jelly to set. Any apples can be used, crab apples are ideal, but any small windfall apples can be used instead if you prefer. John Duxbury
• Any type of rosehip will do. Pick the biggest you can find and only those that are a nice deep red; leave any orange hips for another day.
• Rosehips have a better flavour after a hard frost, so try and postpone picking them until later in the autumn.
• Rosehips freeze well and they are actually easier to prepare after freezing.
• Don't push the rosehips through the muslin cloth as the jelly is then likely to end up cloudy: let it drain overnight.
|900 g||(2 lb)||apples|
|450 g||(1 lb)||rosehips|
|500 g||(1 lb)||sugar (see step 7)|
|1||lemon, juice only|
|½ tsp||butter, optional|
1. Quarter the apples and cut out any bruised or rotten parts, but there is no need to peel them or to remove the cores or stalks.
2. Place the quartered apples in a saucepan and cover with plenty of water.
3. Bring to the boil and cook until soft, about 10 minutes but the time depends on the variety.
4. Meanwhile chop the rosehips in half with a knife or put them in a food processor and give them a few whizzes.
5. When the apples are soft, add the rosehips and simmer for another 10 minutes.
6. Filter the contents using a jelly bag or a muslin cloth. Leave the juice to drain overnight.
7. Weigh the juice and add the same quantity of sugar, usually about 500 g (1 lb), and the juice of 1 lemon.
8. Pop 3 or 4 saucers into a freezer.
9. Pour the mixture into a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
10. Boil rapidly for 5-10 minutes, until the jelly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Check that the jelly will set by doing a saucer test:
• remove the pan from the heat,
• take one of the saucers from the freezer and pour half a teaspoon of the jelly on to it,
• wait one minute and then stand the saucer on its side,
• the jelly is ready if it only runs slowly down the saucer and it wrinkles slightly when pushed with a finger.
If is ready, return the pan to the heat for one minute and then repeat the test. (Take care not to boil for too long because apples are high in pectin, so the jelly can end up overset. If in doubt, it is better for the jelly to be slightly underset rather than overset.)
11. When the jelly ready, remove any scum with a spoon, pour the jelly into sterilised jars* and store in a cool dark place until required. (If the scum is difficult to remove, stir in half a teaspoon of butter to help to disperse the scum.)
Sterilise the jars and their lids by washing and placing in a warm oven (150°C, 300°F, gas 2) for 10 minutes.
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