Have you ever seen a cluster of the most beautiful purple berries in the woods? They earn their common name of Beautyberry and they are quite edible!
OTHER SEASONAL RECIPES TO TRY:
THE BEAUTYBERRY BUSH – CALLICARPA AMERICANA
The beautyberry bush is unmistakable! Cartoonish clusters of bright purple berries growing in the middle of the branch. how could you miss that?
Another distinguishing characteristic is the large leaves which are useful in their own right. They were used primarily as insect repellent by southeastern native americans.
One fact that must be pointed out about beautyberry is that the berries should not be eaten raw in large quantities. I can’t find much concrete information as to why, however, I would guess it could cause stomach upset and/or indigestion. Despite this fact, you can eat them raw if needed but the flavor is not great and they have historically been used primarily for wine and jelly.
- 12 QUART MASON JARS (1 needed)
- China hat strainer
- Large metal strainer with handles
- Sauce pan
- Measuring cup
- Mixing spoon
- Small decorative spoons – Optional but nice to have
- SureJell pectin
- Lemon juice
- Butter (optional)
HOW TO MAKE BEAUTYBERRY JELLY
Start by picking off the berries, this can be done quite easily by grabbing a cluster and pulling and jarring it to get the berries off.
- Next, you will want to wash the berries! Soak them in vinegar water for a few minutes to clean them and to get any bugs off. Then rinse them with cold water.
- Now, place them in a saucepan with about 3 cups of water. Bring it to a boil and then simmer the berries for about 20 minutes.
- You are effectively trying to break down the pulp of the fruit to easily extract the juice.
- You will notice that much of the color has bled out of the berries to form a nice dark juice.
- Using a fine mesh strainer, china hat, or fabric cheesecloth, strain the juice from the berries into a separate bowl.
- If using a strainer or china hat, use a spoon or spatula to press as much of the juice out of the berries as possible. If using fabric cheese cloth, twist the cheesecloth to squeeze all of the juice from the pulp.
- Pour the juice back into the saucepan. Add sugar, pectin, and lemon juice, whisk it all together, and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often to prevent the mixture from burning.
- Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to bring the juice to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring often until the mixture thickens slightly.
- If the mixture starts to bubble over, you may adjust the heat, or stir it vigorously. You may also add butter at this point to reduce the foam.
HOW TO STORE AND PRESERVE PLUM JELLY
You may either can jelly in a water canner or pressure canner, which will stay good for up to 2 years if kept in a cool dark place. Or, you may keep it in the refrigerator and eat it within 3 weeks, or freeze it in glass jars for up to 1 year.
If you are not canning, pour the hot liquid into clean glass jars, put the lids on, and leave the jelly out at room temperature for 24 hours to allow the pectin to set. During this time, don’t disturb the jelly or it could compromise the final product. Now it can either be placed in the refrigerator or freezer.
HOW TO CAN BEAUTYBERRY JELLY
When canning there are a few things that you must do to prepare, regardless of the method of canning you will be using. This will include:
- Washing and sterilizing your jars and lids in simmering water. Washing and sterilizing all of your canning equipment in simmering water
- Being careful not to get your sterilized jars dirty and overall being careful not to introduce microorganisms to any part of the process.
If using a water bath canner, process them at a full boil for 10 minutes. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours before moving them to the storage place.
If using a pressure canner, fill the pot until there is 2 inches of water above the cans. Allow the pressure to build to 5 lbs and process them for 8 minutes. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
Here is an article on Health benefits the Beautyberry provides us.
- 1 quart of Beautyberries
- 1 packet of sure jell pectin
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of butter (optional)
- Wash the beautyberries thoroughly and place them in a medium pot with 3 cups of water.
- Boil them for about 20 minutes to break down the pulp. Then strain out the juice.
- Measure 2 1/2 cups of juice and pour it back into the pot. Then, add lemon juice, sugar, and pectin.
- Bring this mixture to a boil, then simmer it all for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Ladle this mixture into prepared jars. If you want to skip the canning process, just let the jelly set for 24 hours at room temperature without disturbing it.
- If you are canning it, process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes and then let set for 24 hours on the counter without disturbing it. For a pressure canner, bring to 5 lbs of pressure and process for 8 minutes, then let set for 24 hours on the counter without disturbing it.
Adding butter will reduce the foam when boiling the juice. This can help create a more flawless final product.
Serving Size:1 tbsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 53.2Total Fat: 0gSodium: 6mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0.2gSugar: 10.2g