ELDERFLOWER AND APPLE JAM- A DELICIOUS TASTE OF SUMMER

by Ciaran Burke

ELDERFLOWER AND APPLE JAM IN BOWL AND JAR

Despite the less than summery weather over the last while I do feel that summer has indeed arrived. The reason, the ederflowers are in blossom. Sambucus nigra, common elder, is a native shrub/small tree to Ireland and all throughout the countryside its creamy white flat heads are to be seen. Apart from its medicinal uses of which there are many, the flowers and fruits are a great source of food and tastiness.

ELDERFLOWERS WASHED AND IN A BOWL

Elder is a relatively un-used plant in modern day Ireland, which is a shame. In recent years there has been a growing fondnes for elderflower cordial, which is delicious and very easy to make. On Friday evening I made a litre of cordial which will be ready to use in a few days time.  -To see previous blog on how to make elderflower cordial click on the link near the bottom of the page.

I love the clear fresh taste of elder flower and have been of the opinion that there must be more ways to capture its taste apart from making cordial. On Saturday we had elderflower pancakes which were delicious. I will post a blog on how to make them soon. But to enjoy the flavour of elderflowers every morning would be a treat, a great way to exercise the taste buds at the start of each day. So my mind turned to jam, not literally, but thinking of how I could capture the uniqueness of the elderflower flavour in a fruit spread, free of sugar. This resulted is two jams, Strawberry & Elderflower and Elderflower & Apple.

POTS OF STRAWBERRY AND ELDERFLOWER JAM

The first of the two jams I made was Strawberry and Elderflower which is very tasty, a great success. The sweetness of the strawberry seduces your tounge with sweetness then the elder flower tingles it. I made a small batch with strawberries purchased from the farmer’s market in Boyle, Co. Roscommon. But, I wanted more elderflower, and decided to try making a jam with apple. The result is fabulous, perhaps my favourite jam ever! So here are the two recipes. I like to make sugar free jams. Instead of adding sugar I use apple juice concentrate. Although it works out more expensive I do like to eat lots of jam, so it is healthier.

When making jams have clean jars ready. We use old jam jars, washed in hot soapy water then dried thoroughly. Place in a cool oven and heat to 100 degrees Celcius, about twenty minutes at his temperature should sufficiently sterize the jars.

STRAWBERRY AND ELDERFLOWER JAM (SUGAR FREE)

INGREDIENTS:

800g of strawnerries with green parts removed, large fruits were cut into halves.

8 heads of elderflowers.

360 ml of apple fruit juice concentrate

2 apples, peeled and chopped

Juice of one lemon.

STRAWBERRIES TOPPED AND ON KITCHEN SCALES

METHOD:
  1. Tie the flowerheads from the elder into some muslin.
  2. Cook chopped apple in the apple juice concentrate with the lemon juice and the elderflowers in the muslin bag until the apple pieces are soft.  (about 10-15 minutes) Keep the heat low after it has started to bubble.
  3. Add the strawberries and continue cooking at a low heat until the fruit is soft. (about 20 minutes). Stir to make sure fruit does not stick or jam burn
  4. Mash up some of the strawberries to make a pulp, leave soft entire fruit.
  5. Turn up the heat so that the jam really bubbles. Stir occassionally.
  6. When jam has reduced and when you move a wooden spoon across the base of the pot and you hear a good sizzle, then the jam is ready.
  7. Spoon the jam into the jars, be careful, the jam is very hot, wear oven gloves. Clean the outside of the jars to remove any jam that you have spilled, use a clean damp cloth.
  8. Place lids on immediatley.

WASHED ELDERFLOWERS ON MUSLIN CLOTH

STRAWBERRY JAM COOKING IN SAUCEPAN

We have just used the last of the jam we made last october and they have kept well using this method.

ELDERFLOWER AND APPLE JAM (SUGAR FREE)– Possibly the tastiest jam in the world!!!

ELDERFLOWER AND APLE JAM ON BREAD WITH JARS AND GLASS BOWL

INGREDIENTS:

1      1.1Kg peeled and cored dessert apples (the weight after peeling and coring). Chop into small pieces.

2      11 heads of elderflowers

3      2 x 360ml bottle of apple juice concentrate

4      juice of one lemon

MUSLIN CLOTH WITH ELDERFLOWERS AND LEMON PIPS IN APPLE CONCENTRATE COOKING

METHOD:

1      Place the elderflowers in a muslin cloth and tie to make a bag.

2      Put all the ingredients into a saucepan. Cook on a low heat until the apples are soft (15-20 Minutes). Make sure that the muslin cloth containing the elderflower is in the liquid.

3      Remove from the heat and using a hand blender, blend the apples until they are pulp.

4      Return to the cooker and cook on a higher heat. The jam will be ready in about 10 – 15 minutes.

5      Spoon into sterlized jars and cover jars with lids straight away.

ELDER FLOWER AND APPLE JAM ON BREAD

Elderflower and apple jam is delicious on freash beread or toast. Also great with some yougurt too. Even if the summer weather does not live up to expectations, elderflower will always be a summer treat in June.

MAKE ELDERFLOWER CORDIAL (LINK) (from my other blog on www.ciaranburke.ie)

 

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