making jam and jelly with ornamental shrubs

Into_the_woods(z6 NJ)August 4, 2004

I've read that the fruit of shrubs such as Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum opulus or V. trilobum); Sea Buckthorn; Silver Buffaloberry can be used for making jam or jelly. Has anyone used these fruits for that purpose? Would you share recipes? I should add that I'm a purist about this, and won't use commercial pectin such as Certo or Sure-jell.

I have used elderberry, cornelian cherry, and mahonia to make jelly,and they are excellent.


Into the Woods

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I have also done elderberry (blue and red) and barberry jelly, they are excellent.

My attempt at Sea Buckthorn (seaberry) jelly had good body but I did not like the flavor, even though I drink seaberry juice by the gallon! I did not care for a commercial variety (Russian) either, my wife ate it! We will be making seaberry ice cream soon with juice from a new crop.

When making jam/jelly, I use the commercial pectin rather than boiling the snot out of the fruit--perhaps you use crabapples or other natural source of pectin?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 3:21AM
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Into_the_woods(z6 NJ)

Hi Larry Gene,

Thanks for your answer. About the seaberry jelly - what didn't you like about the flavor compared to the juice that you like so much - was it too sweet?

That's the problem I have with using commercial pectin. The recipes often call for 7 or 8 cups of sugar for 4 or 5 cups of juice and the sweetness overwhelms the fruit's flavor IMHO.

I make my own pectin extract from sour apples or the white pith just under the rind on citrus fruit. Or I blend a high pectin fruit with one that's lower in pectin. Cranberry with raspberry for example. Or crabapples cooked together with the other fruit.

I just gathered 3 quarts of cornelian cherries on Tuesday - took all of 30 minutes, if that. Cooked them and collected the juice, and will be making some tasty jelly. That's one that jells easily.

Thanks again.

Into the Woods

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 7:15AM
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marklee(z8 WA)

Larry Gene,
What kind of barberries do you use for your jelly?
-Mark Lee, Seattle

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 10:43AM
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_woods--I think my seaberry jelly was actually good for spreadability and it represented the fruit flavor accurately. My wife ate it and some syrup also. It's just a flavor that I didn't appreciate on food you normally put jam/syrup on--just my quirk.

Seaberry juice has little or no natural pectin judging by the results of an alcohol test for clumping.

marklee--I have used Oregon Grape (the upright variety, but it shouldn't matter). More recently I've used the fruit (juice) of Berberis darwinii (Darwin barberry) and find it to have a flavor akin to black currant. Plus, if the fruit dries, shrivels and falls from the bush, it tastes like little sweet raisins.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 3:56AM
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Into_the_woods(z6 NJ)

Not all jelly or jam is good on toast. Cranberry juice is nice to drink, the jelly/ jam/ what-have-you is a standby with turkey, but putting cranberry jelly on an English muffin - just seems too tart/ sharp.

I used a Japanese species of mahonia, Mahonia bealii to make a delicious jelly. Failures include sumac - too bitter, and cactus pear - unimpressive. While rose hip jam/ fruit butter is great, I find rose petal jelly innocuously sweet. The difficult thing with roses is finding enough unsprayed, untreated flowers.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 7:48AM
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do highbush cranberries have a lot of pectin in them or would it be wise to put some apples in with them.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 9:12AM
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Is Autumn Olive the same as Russian Olive? I want to make some jelly but I don't want to pick the wrong thing.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 10:35PM
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Larry Gene,
Where did you find the berberis darwinii fruit? Also, do you know where one can get arbutus unedo (strawberry tree) fruit?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 11:14AM
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