Friday 28 August 2009

Bramble Jelly.

Well the blackberries are ripening and looking delicious both in the surrounding hedgerows and also up the allotments. I was very excited about this happening as Bramble Jelly is one of my MOST favourite jams/jellies and I fully intended to make some. I checked my cookbook.. (which is a very old one that used to belong to my Nan) and saw that for the bramble Jelly one of the ingredients I needed was 'Tartaric Acid'. So with this information stored in my mind off I went on a shopping trip. I couldn't find any in the local supermarkets but this didn't surprise me really and so I hit the local Health Stores. We have several in town but only one that usually has what you want so this was where I headed. Only to be disappointed!!! I was told that no they didn't stock 'Tartaric Acid' as they just couldn't get hold of any...I did mange to get the 'Citric Acid' I needed (for my Marrow jam) in there so it wasn't a totally bogus trip but still I left the store a little deflated and came home to do a google search......"There has to be something about 'Tartaric Acid' on line." I thought to myself and then maybe I could find a substitute. Boy was I in for a shock!!!!

I put several searches into Google and got some really random things on 'Tartaric Acid' even stating that 'Tartaric Acid' was made from petroleum and shouldn't be used....hhmmm not entirely sure I believe this one though!!

Anyway after much reading and researching I found out that both Tartaric and Citric acid had referred e numbers...E344 for Tartaric Acid and E330 for Citric Acid...I also found a lot of websites which gave me scientific chemical compounds for the 2 acids...all of which wasn't very helpful in my jam production.

It stated on one website that E numbers E300-E300 were all Antioxiants and were used in foods to help reduce the oxidation reactions which naturally occur and can damage food molecules and in particular make fats go rancid.

So there you have it...I am now very educated on some E-numbers and there uses but still don't have a substitute on the Tartaric Acid as could not find one anywhere. I did manage to find one website which sells Tartaric Acid but it is quite expensive so thought I would look for cheaper alternatives!!

My next search was for Bramble Jelly recipes and this did prove to be a little more constructive...I found a recipe which in it's ingredients had Tartaic OR Citric acid...I also found one that used lemon after hours of searching I found a solution which was easily accesible to me and not too expensive...SUCCESS!!!

So there you have it...alternatives are available I guess, you just have to put the right searches in (which I obviously didn't to start with) and then anything is possible. I did find one forum where someone else was asking about 'Tartaric Acid' as there strawberry jam needed it but in my cook book the Strawberry Jam recipe has lemon juice...maybe it is just a preference thing and there is no right or wrong for them!!

Anyway I am going to use the Citric Acid recipe for my Bramble Jelly as soon as there are enough blackberries ripe and I will let you know how I get on and how it tastes!!

Sorry this post ended up as more of a rant than anything but I'm sure there are more of you out me...have come across these problems.. (at least I'm hoping I'm not the only dumb-ass in the world!!)

Hope I've been helpful to someone..or at least given you a laugh!!

Some facts on the acid in question!!!

E330 Citric acid
Citric acid is a vital component of the citric acid cycle, or Krebs cycle. During this sequence of reactions one acetate unit is converted to two equivalents of carbon dioxide giving rise to a molecule of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main energy source in cells. Citric acid occurs abundantly in citrus fruits, although commercial synthesis is by fermentation of molasses. It is used in food as an antioxidant as well as enhancing the effect of other antioxidants, and also as an acidity regulator. Present in virtually all plants, it was first isolated in 1784 from lemon juice, by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele, and has been used as a food additive for over 100 years.Typical products include citrus fruits, preserved fruit and vegetables, potato products, dessert mixes, soups, wine, beer, cider, bakery products, cheese products.

E334 Tartaric acid (L(+)-) (also an Acid)

Tartaric acid exists as a pair of enantiomers and an achiral meso compound. (+)-tartaric acid commonly occurs in nature and can be found in fruit, and sometimes in wine. Tartaric acid is industrially synthesised as a byproduct during wine making, and it is used in food as an antioxidant and synergist to increase the antioxidant effect of other substances. It is also used as an acidity regulator and sequestrant. Excessive ingestion of tartaric acid results in laxative effects.

Typical products include jams, sweets, jelly, tinned fruit and vegetables, cocoa powder, frozen dairy produce.

Also...throughout my research I cam across a website National Center for Home Food Preservation. Which I found some very interesting things on and thought some of my readers might like to check out.


  1. Bramble jelly is my favourite jam it's the only kind I make that I never give away! I've never made it with anything other than blackberries and sugar though and mine has lasted a year or so.

  2. Thanks for the tip least I know I have options :-)

  3. Meowee! You did a lot of research. We have a lot of blackberries in our garden this year. Maybe we will actually do more than just eat them off the vine! The Brmble jelly sounds wonderful!


keep it clean...keep it relevant...I look forward to reading your comments!!