Monday, October 5, 2009

Scenic Drive and Wild Plum Jelly

In our neck of the woods, Fulton Co. Illinois, we have our Scenic Drive on the first and second weekends of October. Even though it was a bit rainy and gloomy on Saturday, my hubby and I decide to venture out to a few of the surrounding communities.  My husband and I always particularly enjoy Mt. Pitsgah. There are quite a few Native American vendors and activities there.


my hubby ordering a buffalo burger


and some of the Native American’s were drumming, which always touches me

Yesterday, which ended up being the pretty day, found me in the kitchen, processing the wild plums Katee and I had harvested earlier. Aren’t they pretty? Well, they might be pretty but next to impossible to peal and de-pitt without loosing most of the fruit, so after muddling through with that through about 6 plums, (I waste no time when I see something is fruitless to continue!), decide to throw them all in the pot with a bit of water and just let them cook down!


so instead of the original plan of jam, I changed to jelly! lol  after letting them cook until all the skins had separated, I gave them a thorough mashing and into the jelly bags the lot went!


Note the three pretty carnations at the sink. My dear granddaughter Lily left those in my vehicle Saturday, saying they were just to show she loved me! awww

I used one package of sure jell, 4 cups of the wild plum juice and 1 cup of apple/grape juice mixture, 3 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup of honey. I really wanted to make jam as I knew how I wanted to do that with absolutely no extra sugars added, but… this is what I came up with for the jelly. The 1 cup of honey in place of 1 cup of sugar seems to have done well, so I might try substituting 2 cups of honey next time, and oh, since the honey counts a liquid also, I reduced the juice by 1 cup also.


24 hours later and all looks well. All the jars seem well sealed and it looks as if the ratios must have worked as it is well set!!


Was this worth the fact that soooo many things didn’t get done due to the time invested in gathering and preparing these lovely jellies? Well, the time spent in the wild with nature and Katee was priceless. Getting to work with a new wild gathered food, priceless again! Luckily it is pretty nice out today so maybe after Dylan goes home I can get the supers off the beehives as we had a light, patchy frost last nite. Then hopefully some last minute herb trimming and hanging to dry. Crazy gardening year! My tomatillos are so lovely and swollen but I imagine I won’t get a ripe one before a hard frost. Just last month the bees were busy pollinating them. I have heard from many gardeners that they too had bounty on some things, and famine on others. I am thankfully to have experienced this wild harvest though and will gladly sacrifice the tomatillos in exchange for her bounty with the wild plums!

Big herbal and honey hugs to all who visit comfrey cottages!


Anke said...

Those jellies look really pretty, the color is great. I went to the post office today and mailed your loofah seeds, you should have them in a few days.

Comfrey Cottages said...

oh thanks anke! i look forward to home grown loofahs!

Laura of said...

Good morning, dear friend... I just came in from the grape arbor, as I was going to make jelly today. But the grapes are so sour STILL, so another day. Your jelly is lovely, but not as sweet as your granddaughter leaving you flowers!

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Jam/Jelly, doesn't matter what matters is that you made it and you will be able to enjoy it this winter! A big plum hug for you!

Comfrey Cottages said...

awww i agree laura, lily is sweeter than jelly:) and nancy, you are right, as long as i do IT is the point:) i wish i could see a free time in my next few days to go back to that magical hillside to gather some more. there is a whole stand of wild plums there! so much food, i am like a little squirrel wishing i could store it all! big sigh:) i did save some seeds though and hoping maybe i can get a tree or two started to maybe plant in one of comfrey cottages other gardens, with a relative or friend:) if anyone wants to try a seed of the wild plum just let me know. would gladly send yoi a couple!
big big herbal and honey hugs to all of you , my sweet friends!
oh, and what was really also new for me was substituting honey for 1 cup of the sugar and using one less cup of liquid also. it really sat up very nicely and has a lovely crisp fruity bite yet some sweet. i love it! :)

Martha said...

I love wild plum jelly and haven't made it in forever -- it is my favorite!

*Ulrike* said...

I can taste it now! I have some german black bread that I buy at Aldi's and the wild plum jelly looks yummy! We have not had a frost yet, but cool days and plenty of rain. Sometimes things taste better with a hint of frost on it! Enjoy your jelly!!

Comfrey Cottages said...

ooo the german black bread would be good with the jelly ulrike! we are approaching our first frost, it is in the forecast. somethings are better after being kissed with frost:) thanks for visiting.:)