First of all, strip the fruits from the sprigs (use a fork), taking care not to burst the fruits. Elderberries are sour when raw but delicious when sweetened for jam or jelly

1kg elderberries

1.5 kg granulated or preserving sugar

4 limes

  1. Cut and squeeze the limes.

  2. Add the lime juice to a large saucepan.

  3. Put the elderberries into the saucepan with the lime juice and add still water until all the berry fruit is covered.

  4. Cover the pan and simmer the elderberries, lime juice and water for at least 60 minutes.

  5. Taking care with the hot liquid, blend the elderberry fruits and leave to cool down in the saucepan. Alternatively the berries can be mashed by hand using a fork or masher.

  6. Once cooled down, the elderberry fruits and liquid need to be strained. This can be done using a plastic sieve, sterilised jelly bag or fine cloth. For economy allow some time for the liquid to drain through. This can take up to 12 hours, if time allows.

  7. Ensure that enough jars are sterilised.

  8. Calculate the amount of preserving or granulated sugar required by measuring first the amount of strained elderberry juice available. For every 1 pint of elderberry juice estimate using 450g of sugar.

  9. Measure out the sugar and add to a fresh clean large saucepan.

  10. Add the elderberry juice to the sugar in the pan and heat at a low temperature setting.

  11. Continue heating the contents in the pan until all the sugar has dissolved.

  12. Then turn up the heat and boil rapidly for up to 15 minutes until the jelly hits setting point of 105 C or 220 F. Check for setting point using the wrinkle test if a thermometer is unavailable.

  13. When the jelly is ready, turn off the heat to the saucepan and remove all detritus from the top of the jelly.

  14. Spoon the jelly into the sterilised jars or glass pots and add lids. Leave to cool before storing the wild elderberries preserve.