You may remember a good few weeks back, my neighbourand I went to great pains to chuck netting over her redcurrant bush, to save the fruit from the hungry beaks of our local birds. I’m delighted to report that our hard work paid off, as a saunter down the garden the other day revealed oodles of plump, juicy currants festooning almost every inch of the plant. In fac they were SO plump and juicy that they were in desperate need of picking before they fell to the ground and our labour was wasted.
So, armed with a bowl and some secateurs I set off to tackle the job in hand. In what seemed like no time at all, the bowl was overflowingand I’d gathered almost two kilos – that’s 4.4lbs to us old schoolers – of fruit.
Rootling around on the internet, I came across a recipe for redcurrant jelly which looked easy enough, so off I set to work. The ingredients are simply equal weights of redcurrants to sugar. What could go wrong?
After a quick wash, I tipped the currants – stalks and all – into a large pan, and slowly brought them to the boil. I squashed the mix with the spud masher to release the juices, and cooked the whole thing for about ten minutes. I then added the sugar, and brought the pulp to a fast boil for a further eight minutes.
It then needed to be strained to separate the mush from the jelly. I don’t actually own a jam strainer, so improvised with a plastic punch bowl with some old (clean) voile stretched over the top and secured with string. As it looked to be about the temperature of molten lava, I let the jelly cool down slightly before carefully ladling it on top of the voile.
Whilst that was straining, I thoroughly washed and rinsed some jars that have been lurking around in the shed. These needed to be sterilised before the jelly went in, so into the oven they went, for about ten minutes on 180° (Gas mark 4). Squeezing the last of the mixture through the voile the jelly was now ready to be funnelled into the hot jars, and the lids popped on while the jars were still warm.
My harvest of redcurrants actually made just over six full jars of tart, tasty jelly, which will go well with meats and cheese.
All for the price of a couple of bags of sugar.