Beautyberry jelly can be made from the native American Beautyberry shrub. It makes a gorgeous sweet gift for everyone on your list.
I’ve had this gorgeous beautyberry shrub for several years. If you’ve been a subscriber for a while, you may remember me talking about it. Every year in the early spring we cut it down to about 18 inches, and every year, it grows back to about 5-6 ft. tall and wide, filled with the most beautiful purple berries by early October.
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The stunning purple berries, though numerous, are pretty small. The birds eat them in the winter, mostly I think, because there’s not much else outside. However, I have read that people make jelly from these berries, so I had to try making some myself.
Picking a quart of berries wasn’t too hard. Just place a bowl under the branch and rub the berry clusters between your fingers. They easily pop right off and into the bowl. Then you need to wash them up to make sure all the bugs, dirt and as much of the extra stems are removed.
I followed the directions from the Sure Jell pectin box, but you can find plenty of other recipes and videos about making your own beautyberry jelly online.
What you are doing is making juice, by boiling the berries in water and straining the liquid, much like making an herbal infusion.
Once you have the “juice” it’s simply a matter of adding the Sure Jell pectin and the proper amount of sugar to create the jelly. I could not believe how delicious this jelly turned out. And what a pretty color, not purple but a vibrant magenta. Next time I might increase the cooking time to make it a little firmer. Other than that I loved it and I hope you do too.
Finally, I did not preserve the jelly jars by using a canning kit. Instead I gave away most of the jars and I instructed everyone to keep it in the refrigerator, and eat it up within a few weeks.
- 1 quart beautyberry shrub berries
- 1 packet Sure Jell Pectin
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Wash and dry berries.
Place berries in a heavy saucepan and cover with water.
Bring to a boil and then simmer on low to medium heat for 20 minutes.
Strain berries from liquid.
Add sugar according to Sure Jell's suggestion. I had 2 1/2 cups of juice so I added 3 cups of sugar.
Add lemon juice and Sure Jell.
Bring to a boil and stir until thickened. About 15 mins or more, making sure to stir so that it does not burn on the bottom.
Pour into clean sterilized jars. Let sit for 24 hours or move to a canning bath container for a longer shelf life.
Place in the refrigerator. Last for about one month.