Elderberry Jelly

After all the hours of picking the elderberries from their stems, making the jelly seemed relatively easy. I used a recipe I found on the Sure-Jell website as follows:

  • 3 cups prepared juice (4 – 5 pounds berries)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 box Sure-Jell fruit pectin
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar

Yield: six 8 ounce jars jelly

Wash jars, lids and rims in hot soapy water. Rinse and place in a deep stock pot, or boiling water canner. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, and then remove pot from heat and set aside. Let everything sit in the hot water until you’re ready to pour the jelly into the jars.

Place berries in a large stockpot, and crush thoroughly with a potato masher.

Place pot on stove and bring to a boil over medium-high heat stirring occasionally. When juices start to flow, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

A peek under the lid at the boiling berries….

Place 3 layers of cheesecloth in a large bowl, and pour boiled fruit into cheesecloth. Tie cloth closed, hang and let drip into bowl until dripping stops.

Hold bag against side of bowl and press the bag gently with a large spoon to squeeze out the rest of the juice. Discard bag.

Measure 3 cups of the juice and pour back into the pot.

Stir in lemon juice. Stir in pectin. Add butter to reduce foaming. Remove jars, lids, and rings from water setting empty jars on a towel on table or counter top. Don’t discard water.

Bring juice mixture to a rolling boil on high heat stirring constantly. Stir in sugar.  Return to a full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off any foam with spoon.

Ladle into jars, filling to about 1/8 inch from the tops.

With a damp paper towel, wipe rims and threads. Apply lids and rings and tighten. Place jars upright into hot water (the same water you used earlier to boil the jars). Water must cover jars by 1 – 2 inches. Add water if necessary. Place pot on stove and bring to a gentle boil.

Reduce heat and boil for 5 minutes if you live at an altitude between 0-1000 feet.

(For 1001 – 3000 feet boil 10 minutes. For 3001 to 6000 feet boil 15 minutes. For 6001 to 8000 feet boil 20 minutes. For 8001 to 10,000 boil 25 minutes.)

Remove pot from heat, and then remove jars setting them onto a towel.

Allow to cool completely.

As I cleaned up the kitchen I could hear the little lids popping, music to a canner’s ears. After jars cool, all the lids should have popped in. Refrigerate any jars that didn’t seal.

This morning I had elderberry jelly on my toast.

Quite tasty, sort of like blackberry.



Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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14 Responses

  1. Carol says:

    Suzanne, you made this look almost easy. I think I will be brave and try to make jelly. I would have to use another kind of fruit, we don’t have elderberries here. Would the recipe be the same or do I have to use specific recipes for the fruit I use? You are inspiring me to expand my horizons! Thanks for the step by step pictures, they are priceless! Have a great weekend.

    • Suzanne says:

      Jellymaking uses the same steps you see here, but the recipe may vary with different fruits. I would look up jelly recipes specific to whatever fruit you’ll be using. Go for it and if you have any questions, just ask! 🙂

  2. Peggy says:

    Oh my goodness! This looks amazing! Wish I could try some. Ha ha!

  3. Louise S says:

    I know my way around a kitchen, but I’ve never attempted canning. Thanks for the tutorial!
    P.S. Does Harland know what a wonderful wife he has? 😉

  4. JMart says:

    I loved reading about your jelly-making as it has been a passion of mine for many years. My grandmother was my inspiration. I vary my “flavors” from year to year. I donate some of my product to my church’s Christmas Fair!

    My personal favorites are green pepper, spiced crabapple and rosemary jelly. The latter is made by steeping rosemary leaves in orange juice.

    However, I’ve never been as adventurous as you in your elderberry pursuits and I salute your efforts.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post,


  5. Tina says:

    Very nice. I haven’t made jam or jelly for many years but maybe I will dust off the old jars and work on some.

  6. Kelly says:

    Are these also called choke cherries?

  7. Toni says:

    I made this and it is more like syrup. Can I cook it again?

  8. penelope Sanborn says:

    Are elderberries kind of like mulberries for the purpose of making jelly?

  9. Julus Pahl says:

    I made elderberry jelly last year and this was the same recipe I used. It is honestly one of my favorite jellies! So good on toast.

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