Monday, September 10, 2007

Jelly virgin

The pillowcase looked as though it had been used to mop up after a particularly gory accident. Deep purple-red liquid seeped through and dripped into the container below. Its contents didn’t look very edifying; in fact, one could be excused thinking the remnants of said accident had been scooped up and hung out to dry.

The pillowcase, which I'd nailed to shelf in the larder, was actually filled with a mush of brambles and cooking apples. The juice dripped into a (sterilised) plastic bin overnight and I have just finished attempting to turn it by some kind of alchemy into bramble jelly.

People are often surprised to hear that I cheerfully concoct chutney, make sloe gin and cook a mean quiche. I like to think of myself as quite domesticated. In fact, I often claim that I have missed my vocation and would’ve made a marvellous housewife. However, until tonight, I have never attempted to make jelly or jam.

My mum is a practiced jam maker. She gave me instructions on judging when the jelly was set, but refused to come round and tell me whether it was or not. “But I need you,” I pleaded into the phone, gazing at the bubbling brew on the cooker but knowing not what I was looking for. She laughed at me and refused to come to my aid. “I’m cooking fish fingers,” she said.

I think jelly making must be a dark art. I have no idea if the purple goo is set or not. Anyway, it’s in jars and I’ll find out tomorrow when it’s cooled whether I’ve inherited the knack.

17 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Well done you! I am keeping my fingers crossed that it sets and then you can take a small jar round to your nasty ma and say "Stick that on yer toast!"

jenny said...

Yay!! I bet it's yummy!! If it didnt set, then you can pour it back into the pot and add a bit more pectin and boil it again and then re-can. I've had my jam not set on me before and that was all I had to do.

Gill said...

Did it set then? If it didn't you could always call it bramble syrup! I love the secret alchemy of domesticity; rising bread, setting jam, seeing what colour clothes come out when you dye them.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Yesssss! It set!

YP, she's a lovely woman! I've had a text this morning enquiring after the state of setness...

Jenny, thanks for the tip... I'll remember that for next time (if there is a next time...)

Gill, it is rather fab waiting to see if the magic has worked...

Mid-lifer said...

My mother in law is an ace chutney,marmalade/jam maker. She does make jellies too - but I have to say they also go wrong sometimes and i have to admit, I feel a little pleased; so often I feel she looks askance at my domestic ineptitude!

rilly super said...

crikey M&M, can't you get the au pair to to do this kind of thing for you? I hope you're not actually thinking of spreading it on your toast yourself. Home made just means it was made under your roof you know, not that you made it yourself. It does sound rather lovely though. Must pop round for tea and scones. Sounds delicious and E-number free...

Anonymous said...

A true story from my time working in the head office of a large financial services organisation..

A young-ish lady had started working in the department, and was in the process of getting to know the other people in what was a very large office.

One day she decided to start chatting to a couple of other ladies who were discussing 'KY Jelly' [I have no idea why].

The 'new girl on the block' said 'Hmm..I haven't heard of that before, back in Wales we only have Chivers...' !

You might think I'm joking, but the wee lassie assures me that it's all true..

@themill said...

Well done! Now, how do you stop it growing blue mould?

Karen said...

I love making jams, chutneys etc. In fact I generally love cooking!

If you can get your hands on a large amount of scented rose petals next year then I have a cracking recipe for rose petal jelly. Tastes like turkish delight :)

I haven't dyed anything for ages - do you remember when we went mad tye dying everything in the house mum?

ziggi said...

When my children were little I used to love making bramble jelly - I think I had a sugar thermometer which told you when it was at setting temp; mostly,however we used to put a couple of drips on a cold plate and if it solidified then it was ready. Once it was so ready we never did get it out of the jars.

Gill said...

my mum swears by a sugar thermometer but I always do the drip test on a woooden spoon, if the last drop doesn't fall off it's set.

Rob Clack said...

Well done on the jelly front.

I thought Gill was going to say "seeing the colour clothes come out when you wash them". I think you can work out where I'm coming from!

Mopsa said...

Do buy a jam thermometer M&M - a failsafe method and easy peasy if you just remember to tie it to the pan handle before it slips underneath the roiling surface of jam in the making, possibly never to be seen again. Bet it tastes great, set or not. My advice is if overly liquid, you simply roll up the edges of your toast and slurp!

Omega Mum said...

I love the title 'jelly virgin' - one of my favourites so far.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Mid-lifer, I am not giggling in encouragement at your naughtiness, honest ...

Rilly, you are most welcome to come for tea and scones. I have even been known to make scones on occasion ...

Anon, how 'sweet' ...

@themill, don't say things like that!

Karen, turkish delight jelly sounds fab...

Ziggi, Gill & Mopsa, sugar thermometers sound rather serious ...

Rob, be nice!

TA OM, I am no longer a virgin - I have made some crab apple jelly tonight. It's a gorgeous colour. Perhaps I shoudl join the WI ...

Mopsa said...

Nothing serious about a sugar thermometer - it just hangs from its wee hook in the kitchen until it's needed (throughout August, September and October)and then snores away the rest of the year. Not expensive either. Your Mum can make fish fingers without interruption.

Marianne said...

I'm very impressed - hope it did work. I haven't tried jellies yet. Enjoy your domesticity. There is a place for all sorts of enterprise in a woman's life.