Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Currant Jelly

There's more sugar than I like to use in jam in this, but it is definitely trickier to reduce the sugar in jelly. Mind you, it's not too sweet; currants tend to be pretty tart. You can use red, white or black currants for this, whatever you like. I did both red and white currants (separately) and was impressed at the difference. The white ones are less acidic, and took almost twice as long to reach the setting point. The jelly also ended up a rich rosy-golden colour, which I didn't expect. It's very nice jelly though, more subtle than the red or black currants, each of which have their own distinctive flavours.

This recipe may be doubled, but no more at one time. Increasing the amount made at one time will increase the length of time it takes for the jelly to cook by a noticeable amount, so be prepared for it. I also like to put in a 125-ml (1/2 cup) jar whenever I am preparing jams or jellies, because they always seem to end up with a somewhat random quantity. These little jars also make great little presents.

2 1/2 to 4 250-ml (1 cup) jars
1 1/2 hours

Currant Jelly
1 quart currants
1 cup water
3 cups sugar

Rinse the currants and remove any leaves or bits of debris, but there is no need to pick them off the stems. Put them in a pot with the water, and bring to a boil. Boil until they have all burst, about 5 minutes.

Strain the juice from the currants, using a jelly bag or a fine strainer. For clear jelly, don't press or squeeze the currants, just let them drip through for some time, overnight perhaps. However, I don't particularly care about clear jelly, I want more jelly, so I squeeze and press to get every last drop. The choice is yours.

Once you have your extracted juice, put the jars into the canner with water to cover them by an inch. Bring them to a boil, and boil 10 minutes. This is likely to take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the size of you canner and the strength of your stove.

About 30 minutes before you expect to be able to remove the jars from the canner, start cooking the jelly. Put the juice and sugar in a canning kettle or large, heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. The mixture will expand by at least double as it cooks, so don't skimp on the size of the pot. Boil for 15 minutes to half any hour, stirring occasionally, until the jelly tests ready to set.

How do you know when it's ready to set? You can put a saucer in the freezer before you start. When you drip a few drops on the frozen dish, it should set at once, and wrinkle up when you push against it. However, I prefer just to pour the jelly from the side of the stirring spoon. At first it will just run off. Once it starts running off in two streams it is near, and once it starts running off in a mass or in more than two streams, it is done.

Lift and empty the jars into the canner. Set them on a heatproof surface. Fill the jars with the jelly, wipe the rims with a bit of paper towel dipped in the boiling water and top the jars with lids prepared according to manufacturer's directions, generally boiled for 5 minutes. Return the jars to the boiling water bath and boil for 4 or 5 minutes more to ensure a good seal.

Remove and let them cool. Do not tilt them, turn them, shake them etc. as they are cooling, you may interfere with the setting. When they are sealed and cold, label them and store them in a cool, dark spot. Keep refrigerated once opened.

Last year at this time I made Danish Celeriac Salad.


Kevin Kossowan said...

I cannot wait for my currant bushes to mature enough to give me something to work with. Red currant jelly is high on my wish list of annual preserving projects - so it's nice to hear at least SOMEBODY's enjoying it if not myself!

Ferdzy said...

Hi Kevin! I know what you mean... we just planted some blueberries. We're supposed to remove the blossoms for the first few years. *sniff*

On the other hand it's hard to feel TOO sorry for someone who just scored 200 pounds of free saskatoons. Holy mackeral!