The Painted Egg
Yesterday, I was walking with 2 of our male dogs, (Baxter and Humphrey), and I was remembering how much joy berry (i.e., blackberry), season brings me. I have to confess, I got a bit down. Since, the dogs usually take me through our berry patch; of course per their usual that’s the direction they took me; they’re always expecting to see rabbits, (they nest in the brambles). Suddenly, I saw beautiful, Beautyberries! I had forgotten about this lovely berry. They are aptly named, for their vibrant purple color that only G-d could design. They are absolutely gorgeous.
For those of you that live in zones 7-11 you better get moving and start, Beautyberry picking before they’re all gone. Keep in mind your fingers are going to get a tad purple, no different than when you harvest blackberries, blueberries, etc. At some point, I might try dyeing our wool in their gorgeous pigment, and see how it turns out.
Hopefully, I’ve inspired you to go out and collect these lovely berries. Please send me an e-mail(s) with photos of your Beautyberry preserves.
For more information please visit: https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/beautyberry/
Please, DO NOT use metal utensils or pots. The metal will make your preserves taste like pennies. Always use plastic, or wood. Adjust the recipe according to the amount of berries you collected.
1 1/2 quarts Beautyberries, well washed
2 Quarts filters water
Boil together for approximately 20 minutes, mash to extract the juice from the berries.
For this process make sure to use a plastic bowl to collect the juice. Strain through a jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth or a flour sack towel.
Set a large, heavy pot **non-reactive** on the stove. Measure 3 cups of juice into the pot, add lemon juice and 1 envelope of Sure Jell plus 4 1/2 Cups of granulated sugar (the amount of sugar you use depends on your taste). Stir. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat. Stir and bring to a boil. You are looking for a full rolling boil. It may take 2 minutes or longer.
Remove the pot from the stove. Wait until the foam rises to the top then skim off the foam.
Ladle into sterilized jars leaving about 1/2/inch headspace, wipe the rims and threads, add 2-part lids and hand tighten. Please consult a proper canning book for the best way to process the jars.
**I’m not a fan of packaged pectin if I need to use it, I ONLY use a smidge.
I prefer: Lemons (use sparingly), tart apples (i.e., granny smiths or other tart varieties). When using apples for their natural pectin, you will need to boil the whole apple, and only use the liquid/juice. Depending on the amount of berries you collect will obviously depend on the amount of apples you will use.