If you ask my kids, they’ll tell you that our homemade elderberry jelly is their all time favorite jelly! Not only is elderberry jelly sweet and delicious, but it is good for us too. It is chock full of all natural Vitamin C which is vital for keeping our family healthy throughout the year- and especially during cold and flu season! Every year I make a big batch of elderberry jelly and can it so we have this nutritious jelly to eat year round. I figured it was about time to share our family’s elderberry jelly recipe since so many people have asked me how I make it!
Why use Elderberries for jelly?
Elderberries grow wild in the mountains around us and one of our favorite berries to forage every year. If you’re not familiar with elderberries and want to learn more about them, here’s our post on how to identify and forage for elderberries . We also have a post on how to make homemade elderberry syrup which is a part of our family’s natural herbal medicine we take to help stay healthy during cold and flu season. But elderberry can be used in so many other ways to boost your Vitamin C levels and not just in a syrup. We started making elderberry jelly about six years ago and it quickly became a family favorite. Who doesn’t love a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on homemade bread with elderberry jelly!
How we make homemade elderberry jelly
The recipe we use to make elderberry jelly is a basic fruit jelly recipe found in the Pamona’s Pectin box and the same basic recipe we use when making our homemade chokecherry jelly. I love using Pamona’s Pectin because it is the best pectin I’ve found for making honey sweetened or low sugar jams and jellies. This basic recipe makes about 4-5 cups of jelly.
2 cups of fresh elderberries or 1 cup dried elderberries
4 cups of water
1/4 cup plus 4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup to 1 cup honey OR 3/4 cup sugar to 2 cups sugar
1 pack of Pamona’s Pectin
- Step 1: Place the elderberries in a large pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil then simmer for at least 30 minutes, sometimes I let it simmer for up to an hour. I use a spoon and mash the elderberries to help release their juices into the water to create an elderberry juice.
- Step 2: Let the juice cool a bit then strain the elderberries from the liquid. I use a piece of cheesecloth placed inside a fine mesh strainer like this one and press the elderberries with a spoon to press out as much juice as possible.
- Step 3: Pour the elderberry juice into a large pot and stir in the lemon juice. Stir in 4 tsp calcium water (this will be in the Pamona’s Pectin box).
- Step 4: Pour the honey or sugar into a bowl. I prefer to use honey that we harvest from our bee hives but if we’re running low on honey I use part honey and part unrefined sugar. Stir in 4 teaspoons of pectin from the Pamona’s Pectin box.
- Step 5: Heat the elderberry juice in the pot on the stove until it boils. Then quickly stir in the sugar and/or honey pectin mix from the bowl. Boil it for 1-2 minutes while continuing to stir. Turn the heat off, or if you have a large batch like I did turn the stove burner on low so the jelly stays warm for multiple rounds of jar filling and canning!
- Step 6: Ladle the elderberry jelly into hot jars (make sure you inspect your jars first by following these tips!). Wipe the rims clean, put on a canning lid and ring, and process in a boiling water bath canner (we have one like this and love it!) for 10 minutes. Adjust your processing time according to your altitude.