By Margaret Bose-Johnson
Preserve up the bounty of sweet summer saskatoon berries in jars of glistening saskatoon jelly. A special ingredient helps enhance the berries’ natural flavour.
Saskatoons are such a luscious berry. They’re sweet and nutty, with floral and slightly almond overtones. So hard to describe and incomparable to any other berry out there.
In the system of scientific classification for plants, saskatoons belong to the same botanical order (Rosales) and family (Rosaceae) as roses.
Reading that was an ‘aha!‘ moment for me. That explains the faint floral flavour. The berries resemble little purple rosehips and they’re full of seeds, too (though much juicier than rosehips).
Adding a touch of rosewater to this homemade saskatoon jelly is a magical flavour enhancer, bringing out the sweet best in those wonderful berries — a natural pairing. That subtle hint of rosy flavour takes the jelly from fruity to fantastic.
Your morning toast and jelly experience will be a gourmet treat.
Kitchen Frau Notes: Of course, you can omit the rosewater and still have a wonderful, simple saskatoon jelly with a full fruit flavour.
Rosewater can be found in import stores and in the import aisle of some large supermarkets.
- 2 kg saskatoons (14 cups/3½ quarts of berries)
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons bottled reconstituted lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon rosewater (optional)
- 7½ cups (1.5kg) sugar
- 2 pouches liquid pectin (170ml in total)
* The jelly might not set if you double the recipe — make one batch at a time.
Pick over the saskatoons. Rinse them and drain them well.
Combine the berries and the water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the juice by pouring the cooked berries into a jelly bag hanging over a bowl. (Tie the corners together and slip a wooden spoon through, under the knot. Hang the spoon between two chairs.
If you don’t have a jelly bag, you can makeshift one by using a clean damp tea towel (it will become stained) or layering 3 to 4 sheets of cheesecloth into a colander set over a large bowl. Moisten the cloth, add the berries, gather up the corners, and tie them into a bundle. Leave the fruit to drip for three to four hours — until you have 3½ cups juice. Do not squeeze the fruit or you’ll have cloudy jelly. If you don’t get quite enough juice, you can top it up with water to make 3½ cups.
Prepare and sterilize canning jars. Run clean jars through the hottest setting in your dishwasher and leave them in there to stay hot until you need them. Set the metal lids into a saucepan and cover them with water. Bring them to a simmer and leave them simmering on low heat, to fish out of the water directly when you seal the jars.
In a large saucepan, combine 3½ cups prepared saskatoon juice, lemon juice, rosewater (if using) and sugar. The pot should be no more than half full to allow plenty of room for the boiling jelly. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat.
Stir in the liquid pectin, squeezing all the pectin from the pouches. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and skim off any foam floating at the top of the jelly.
Working quickly, pour the jelly into warm, sterilized jam jars to within ¼ inch of the top. Wipe any drips on the rims of the jars with a clean, damp cloth. Cover with sterilized lids and seal, screwing jars finger-tight. Let cool undisturbed. You should hear the lids “pop” as they seal and see that the vacuum has sucked the lid down so it doesn’t move when pressed with a finger (but don’t press the lids until the jars are completely cooled.)
If any jars didn’t seal (the lid will still bulge upward slightly and moves when pressed with a finger), store those jars in the refrigerator and use within a few months.
Makes 8 half-pint/250ml jars.
For more great recipes visit my food blog at www.kitchenfrau.com