acorn & spicebush jelly
I harvested the berries on Friday. A gentle morning stroll in warm sun with easy picking. After spending the night in the dehydrator, the fruit looks distinctly less shiny and bright but all its flavors were concentrated and preserved, just waiting for someone like me to come along with her spice grinder.
Dissolve 1/4 cup acorn starch in 1.5 cups cold water and whisk.
Grind 10 dried spice bush berries (should make about a tsp. of ground spice), then add 1/4 cup brown sugar to the spice grinder and pulse a few more times. (Ground spice bush berry is sticky and tough to get out of the spice grinder. The sugar loosens it up so you don't lose a speck of spice bush spiciness.)
Whisk the sugar/spice bush mixture into the starch and stir regularly over medium heat until the pudding starts to burp great thick bubbles. Turn down the heat and continue to stir for 4-5 minutes, then pour into a square or rectangular, glass or pyrex pan and refrigerate.
The stiff, shiny, jelly is easy to cut into slices. In Korean cooking, acorn jelly is served as a savory dish, often with kimchi or soy sauce and vegetables. My dessert version comes with a dab of cream and a few chopped nuts. I like a little crunch in the midst of silkiness.