|Ground Cherry Lemon Jelly|
If you happen to raise ground cherries, you may end up finding yourself swamped with an excess of the little fruits. This recipe will help you use up a LOT of them in a hurry. The lemon cuts the sweetness of the ground cherries, and my family prefers a jelly over a jam for ground cherries because their large number of seeds makes a jam almost gritty.
I created this recipe when I was still using standard pectin, so there is quite a bit of sugar. I think you could successfully cut the sugar in half if you used Pomona’s Pectin or other low sugar pectin products, but I wouldn’t cut it more than that because the large amount of lemon juice.
This jelly tastes like the best old-fashioned lemon drop you ever had. Serve it on toast with a bit of honey or almond butter and you’ve got a little slice of lemony heaven.
Ground Cherry Lemon Jelly Recipe
3 ½ cups ground cherry juice
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest (preferably organic)
¼ teaspoon butter
1 package powdered pectin (1.75 oz) (I use Sure Jell)
6 cups sugar
To prepare ground cherry juice, husk and wash ground cherries, run them through a food processor. I used around two 11″x22″ cardboard strawberry picking flats full of ground cherries to get 3 1/2 cups of juice.
|ground cherries in the husk|
|husked ground cherries|
Cook gently for at least 15 minutes, until very soft. Drain through jelly bag for several hours or overnight. Avoid squeezing bag to keep juice clear.
|Prepared ground cherry juice and lemons|
Grate one tablespoon of zest from 1-2 lemon(s). I use a Microplane zester. Juice the lemon(s) to obtain ½ cup juice (you either need a large lemon or lemons or can substitute a little bottled juice to make up the difference).
Sterilize seven 8-ounce jars, keep hot. Heat lids and rings in hot water, keep warm but not boiling. Fill water bath canner and bring to boil.
Measure sugar and set aside. Combine juices and zest, stir in pectin and butter. Bring to full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Immediately add all of the sugar. Bring back to full rolling boil and boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Ladle jam into sterilized jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims clean and screw on the lids. Process for 10 minutes in water bath canner (add 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level). Makes around 7 half pint jars. This time around I ended up with 6 1/2 jars (the half went into the fridge).
These make beautiful and unique Christmas gifts, too (you know no one has ever gotten lemon ground cherry jelly before). Ground cherries can produce a lot of fruit in a small area, so four to six plants should be plenty for a batch or two of jelly and fresh eating. I’m sure you could substitute Cape Gooseberries instead of ground cherries, if you have them. I know it late this year for most folks to try them (unless you’re in the southern hemisphere), but keep this in mind for next season.