Well, I feel now as if I am a true Florida woman. Not the kind of Florida woman who gets cranked on bath salts and shoves an alligator into the shower with her cheatin', snaggle-toothed man.
Not yet, anyway.
No. I'm the kind of Florida woman who can make beauty berry jelly. Because I have done it. Lily and Lauren and the kids did at least fifty percent of the work by picking all those berries and let me just say- I made a double recipe and still have enough for another batch. However, I only bought two boxes of Sure-Jell which is a thickener for making jams and jellies and I have used them both. Also? I think I may have enough beauty berry jelly. I think it's going to taste okay but I don't think it's going to be THE BEST THING EVER PUT ON A BISCUIT!
In the picture above I have cleaned the berries of stems and leaves (mostly) and am mashing them with my bean masher. Twelve cups of beauty berries. Which is a lot. You cook them with a lot of water, mashing as many as you can, and boil that for twenty minutes. Then you strain the resulting liquor and measure it back into a pot. You bring that back to a boil, add the Sure-Jell and about fourteen tons of sugar and cook it for two minutes and then fill your sterilized jars. They go back into the canning kettle and you process them for ten minutes and this is what I got.
Two pints and eight half-pints. If you hold a jar up to the light, it looks like this.
I've never used a thickening agent in making jams or jellies before but I take it that beauty berries are what they call a "low pectin" fruit. Apples are a very high pectin fruit. Pectin is the substance which makes jelly and jam thick instead of syrupy. Sure-Jell is powdered fruit pectin. So there you go. Your science lesson for the day.
As always, simply seeing nice jars filled with something I made is a reward in and of itself. And now, when the beauty berries arrive every year I won't have to wonder if I could make jelly out of them. I will know I could.
And who knows? The jelly may be so good that I'll want to make more. We shall see.
Jessie and Vergil stopped by on their way out of town today. The boys were strapped into their seats with books at their sides and with new water bottles which they proudly showed me and Bop. August's is Spider Man themed and Levon's has some sort of Frozen decoration on it. I went through a whole little animated speech about how their Grandma and aunt and uncle are going to say, "Who are these big boys? Vergil and Jessie, where are August and Levon?" August looked at me in fascination. Like maybe I was an alien who didn't understand human growth and age. They're actually all meeting up with the Mountain Family on Oak Island for some beach time all together before they head over to Black Mountain. I know they're going to have the best time. Tonight they're staying in Savannah and Jessie just sent this picture.
TV WATCHING! FROM BED!
What could possibly be better? I'm sure that this is already the best vacation ever.
I had to make a quick run to Publix to get my Sure Jell and ended up buying half the store. Why does this always happen? I'm still shopping for a pandemic, I guess. I got to see Lily and that was lovely except of course for the fact that I couldn't hug her. Publix has gotten rid of its aisle direction arrows and I'm not sure why. Probably because no one obeyed them. I'll have to discuss this with my daughter who will know.
Meanwhile, here we still are. I just skimmed an article from Rolling Stone entitled "How Keith Richards Is Spending His Quarantine" where he talked about staying home, wearing a mask when he does go out. He said, "Oh yeah, I’m a masked man. I mean, it’s what you have to do. I don’t care what it looks like or anything else. It’s ridiculous. This is bloody Alice in Wonderland, you know?"
Bless us all.
P.S. I just checked my jelly and if that stuff doesn't do a little bit of gelling, it's going to be nothing but beauty berry flavored, very sweet juice. At this point, I'm just hoping for syrup.
Never heard of beauty berries but they make a lovely picture. I'm hoping that it gels after all. Keep checking :)ReplyDelete
I have been...Delete
Such gems. I’ve never seen anything like those beauty berries. More pure Florida magic.ReplyDelete
I'm going to need more Sure Jell magic to improve this stuff.Delete
always somewhat of a disappointment when jam/jelly doesn't work right (gel).... but I would hope it would, using pectin. Even beauty berry syrup wouldn't be a bad thing! I read both Rolling Stones articles/interviews with Keith AND Mick..... just love those two. And we are literally sweltering today- a record 114 outside, 90 inside....and that is with our new AC going full blast. Walking outside is like stepping into hell.....and then coming inside and having 90 feel cool? Something SO VERY wrong with that picture.....but all of the West ....we are all in the same big boat in hell today. I think I have the vapors LOLReplyDelete
I would have the vapors. I cannot BELIEVE the temperatures I'm reading for y'all. It's just horrible. Meanwhile, let's all get really upset about confederate statues.Delete
This sort of cliffhanging is what keeps us all coming back. How *will* the jam turn out?! But really I am going to wonder and be glad when you tell us :)ReplyDelete
The story is hopefully not over.Delete
That's a long, hard day's work for syrup, not jelly.They are unlike any berry I ever worked with, elderberries and gooseberries and currents. The first are to die for, and the last two are OK, but the plants also ruined the side of the barn and necessitated new siding. Always something. Elderberries are so dark you cannot see through it. Currents and gooseberries make "see through" jelly.ReplyDelete
Yep. Some vines can destroy a house. I've never had access to elder or gooseberries. They don't grow here. I'd love to try them though.Delete
I hope the jelly jells, after all that work. Or it will be Mary's Beautyberry Sauce. Poured over everything..ReplyDelete
I was going to say it might make an interesting sauce...good luck!ReplyDelete
"Interesting" is a kind word.Delete
I've never heard of beauty berries. There is a first time for everything and you never know, they may be wonderful. If they don't jell they could make a real good pancake syrup!ReplyDelete
I'll have to thicken it to make a syrup.Delete
If nothing else, you could hang them from branches with little lights behind them, the color is heavenly!ReplyDelete
Two boys on a bed watching television on clean sheets and a fluffy comforter- best vaca ever! I wish them well on their little adventure.
Hanging the jars is the best idea yet. Thanks, Linda Sue.Delete
The jelly IS a beautiful color! I have never heard of beauty berry jelly before reading this on your blog, so you're teaching me something. I'll be eager to see how it tastes. We have beauty berries in our garden but I don't think they're quite the same species as the Florida ones -- I wonder if we could make jelly too? (If we were so inclined, which, to be honest, we probably won't be.)ReplyDelete
(I laughed at your sentence about getting cranked on bath salts and rassling that gator. SO Florida!)
I'm sure the boys are going to love their adventure!
Yeah. Don't bother with the jelly.Delete
I love that you're from Florida and get my jokes. Sometimes I put them in mostly for you.
I think the boys are having a wonderful time.
Until you mentioned beauty berries I had never heard of them. Ah well, you learn something every day. If one bathed in a bathtub of beauty berries or beauty berry syrup would one become more beautiful? I might give it a try. You never know.ReplyDelete
I think one might become purple and find beauty berries stuck in all sorts of crevices.Delete
That beauty berry jelly looks sublime - as does the duvet on that bed the boys are sitting on. One of the blissful parts of staying in a hotel!ReplyDelete
I know! I love good hotel bedding! It's so luxurious!Delete
I had to look up what a Beautyberry even was as I was not familiar with the Fruit. I googled and got up to speed on the Plant, it's Fruit and Flavor. Apparently Squirrels love them, I don't know that they grow here in the Southwest, which is why I probably hadn't heard of them. The Jelly looks great, I Love to try new Flavors, I recently bought a bounty of interesting Jellies and Jams from Whole Foods and Sprouts to try out, a break from the usual flavors of the common ones we usually have.ReplyDelete
I love different jams and jellies and preserves too and I do love to make them when I get the fruit. I think that beauty berries are probably pretty much a plant of the south east.Delete
I thought beauty berries were poisonous.ReplyDelete
I bet you’re missing those boys. Also that photo of May with short hair in you last post is gorgeous. Why does love make our hearts ache?ReplyDelete