It's that time of year again when I take a whole stack of cookbooks out of my kitchen cupboard in order to retrieve my big preserving pan. This is our first summer on our allotment plot and already we have had an abundance of soft fruit. The raspberries and redcurrants have just been scoffed except for some raspberries that made it into a raspberry and almond torte. Last week we popped along to the allotment so I could drop something off and Mr JibberJabber could pick something up. We were stopped in our tracks by the sight of big, juicy blackcurrants hanging from the bush. A basket was quickly grabbed and we proceeded to pick them.
Of course I then had to decide what to do with this bounty. I didn't think I had enough sugar to make jam and I couldn't be bothered to top and tail all of those blackcurrants. So jelly it was. I boiled up the fruit and then let it sieve for several hours. Since it was quite late by then I covered it and put the liquid overnight in the fridge so don't worry about making it all in one day.
Equipment: Large high sided saucepan, wooden spoon, jelly strainer stand, jelly bag or muslin square, large glass jug, 2 small plates/saucers, freezer, jam thermometer (optional) 2 standard sized jam jars and lid.
2lb (900g - 1kg) Blackcurrants
1¼ pints (700ml) Water
450g Granulated sugar for each 600ml of liquid. I had 800ml so used 600g of granulated sugar (800/600 x 450 = 600)
1. Wash the fruit thoroughly discarding any leaves, unripe or over ripe fruit.
2. Put the fruit into the saucepan and add the water.
3. Bring to the boil and mash the fruit lightly to help extract the juices. Reduce to a simmer.
4. Cook for about 30-45 minutes making sure the fruit doesn't burn.
5. Set up your jelly strainer and put a glass jug underneath.
6. Spoon some the fruit and juices into the jelly strainer. Add small amounts until all the mixture is in the strainer.
7. Leave to strain for a couple of hours at least. Do not be tempted to squeeze the bag as this will result in a cloudy jelly.
8. Check the volume of liquid and calculate the amount of sugar required.
9. Put the plates or saucers into the freezer.
10. Ensure the jars are clean and dry. Put into the oven to sterilize at 120°C/Gas mark ½-1.
11. Pour the jelly liquid back in the large saucepan (ensure no bits remaining in the pan) and bring to the boil. Add the sugar and stir gently to dissolve.
12. Keep at a rolling boil for about 10-12 minutes and then try the setting point. If using the thermometer this should read about 104ºC/220ºF.
13. Take one of the plates out of the freezer and drop a small amount of the liquid onto the plate. Push it with the spoon and if it wrinkles and moves it is ready to bottle. If not keep boiling and try again in a minute.
14. Quickly take the pan off the heat and take the jars out of the oven (remember it will be hot!).
15. Pour jelly into the jar. Skim any scum off the top. Put the lid on immediately to ensure that 'pop' when first opened.