An intensely fruity preserve of juicy redcurrants and blackcurrants that’s perfect spread on thick buttered slices of malted bread. Fruit jellies have long been one of my favourite ways to enjoy jam, as there are no pesky bits in it. It all gets filtered out and you’re just left with a jewel-bright and clear jelly that’s just the best edible Christmas gift idea.
I was having a bit of a freezer clear-out and remembered I’d been given a whole stash of berries from my friend’s lovely mum over the summer. A quick chat with my own mum about the best plan of attack and I got my massive preserving pan out and readied myself for the process.
What you need to make jelly
You need to be prepared when you’re making any kind of jam. I use my granny’s old preserving pan and a huge wooden spoon. I’ve been collecting all of my used jars, as well as my favourite Ball Preserving Jars. I washed them all up in hot soapy water to sterilise them, and then put them in a low oven to dry.
I constructed my jelly strainer, bought pretty inexpensively from Lakeland, and then put the redcurrants and blackcurrants in the pan. I poured in just enough water to cover the fruit and then put it over a low heat to simmer away for an hour or so, giving it the odd stir so nothing was sticking to the bottom of the pan.
After about an hour and a half, I took the pan off the heat and mushed up the fruit with a potato masher. This helps release all of the pectin from the fruit. That’s what helps it set, and redcurrants are bursting with the stuff.
After it had cooled a little, I sat the jelly bag on its frame over a large pan and then carefully poured the fruity mixture in. I then left it for the best part of the day to gradually filter through. You want every last drop of that gorgeous liquid, just DON’T BE TEMPTED TO SQUEEZE THE BAG… NOT EVEN ONCE!!!! You’ll end up with a cloudy jelly instead of the jewel-bright gorgeousness that you’re aiming for.
Once you’ve got your liquid, you need to measure how much you have so you can work out how much sugar you need. Because I’m following my mum’s instructions it’s 1 lb of sugar for every 1 pint of liquid.
Weigh out enough sugar, put it in a bowl and warm it up in the oven. Pour your liquid into the preserving pan, and stir in the sugar until dissolved over a low heat. Then crank up the hob and get it up to a rolling boil until you reach setting point. I do this by dipping my wooden spoon into the jam, lifting it out and turning the spoon while the drips run off. When the drips no longer run off and just hang like a flake from the spoon, your jam will set. For a more detailed run-down of setting point and making jam, read my Jam Masterclass Blog Post
You can then pour the liquid into your prepared jars, tightly seal and allow to cool before giving them all a bit of a wipe and labelling them up.
Blackcurrant and Redcurrant Jelly
I’ve not specified quantities… you work out how much sugar you need from the amount of fruit you have…
Blackcurrants – 50% – fresh or frozen
Redcurrants – 50% – fresh or frozen
Granulated Sugar – 1 lb for every pint of strained liquid
- Put an equal mix of blackcurrants and redcurrants in a large preserving pan and pour over just enough water to cover the fruit.
- Bring to the boil on the hob and then turn down and simmer for 1-2 hours giving it the odd stir. Remove from the heat and using a potato masher squish the fruit thoroughly.
- Pour it into a jelly strainer set over a large bowl/pan and leave to filter through for at least half a day. DO NOT SQUEEZE IT. NOT ONCE. NEVER!
- Wash the jam jars in plenty of hot and soapy water and dry on the shelves of a low oven.
- Once the fruity liquid has passed through the strainer, and no more drops are falling, measure how much you have. Then measure out 1 pound of sugar for every 1 pint of liquid you have.
- Warm up the sugar in the low oven in a heatproof bowl. Pour the liquid into a preserving pan, stir in the sugar over a low heat and dissolve completely before whacking up the heat and bringing it all to a rolling boil.
- Boil until it reaches setting point. Turn off the heat, spooning off any foam from the surface and then carefully pour the mixture into the prepared jam jars. Seal tightly, cool and then label.
What happens if my jam doesn’t set?
- You’ve probably got too much liquid – next time do it in smaller batches
- You can tip it all out into the pan and re-boil it until it sets. I’ve done this before and it works just fine…
I’m happy to report that the recipients of this jelly have so far been loving it… I’m not sure it’s going to last until December for Christmas gifting though. I might have to hide the rest of the stash. I really don’t trust myself not to plough right through it all!
You can find more of my jam recipes here
Follow my Preserves board on Pinterest for loads more jamspiration!
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