3 cups elderberry juice (see preparation instructions below)
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 packet liquid fruit pectin
½ teaspoon butter
4 ½ cups sugar
Remove the large stems from about 3-4 pounds of elderberries with scissors and place them in a large pot. Bring the pot to a boil, crushing the berries down with a potato masher to help release the juices. Continue to cook at a low boil, crushing the berries periodically, for 20-30 minutes until the berries are very soft.
Place 2 layers of cheese cloth, overlapping in a large bowl and pour the berries and juices into the bowl. Tie the cheesecloth into a ‘sack’ around the berries and hang it over the bowl with kitchen string to drain. Let drain for at least 8 hours over overnight, squeezing gently every so often to help the juices drain.
To make the jelly, measure exactly 3 cups of the elderberry juice into a large saucepan. Add the lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add the fruit pectin and the butter, stirring, and bring to a full rolling boil that does not stop, even when stirred. Add the sugar and bring to a full rolling boil again and let boil for exactly 1 minute.
Ladle the liquid into sterilized jars* and cover with sterilized caps. If you are canning, place the jars in a large pot of boiling water. They should be covered by 1-2” of water. Reduce to a low boil and process for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack covered with a kitchen towel and let cool completely. If they are properly canned, you will hear the tops ‘pop’ in the next hour and when you press the lids in the center with your finger they will not bounce back.
If you are not canning, the jelly will keep in the fridge for up to 2 months.
*To sterilize your jars, place them in a large pot of boiling water. Let them boil for 8-10 minutes. Carefully remove with canning tongs and place upside down on a clean wire rack over a kitchen towel. Place the tops in a small pot of boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave them in the hot water until ready to use.