The day I moved into a house with a garden (a rental first, or own house now), we’re the proud possessors of a particularly generous redcurrant bush. We didn’t plant them, they just came with the house. Never had to put nets on it, birds weren’t feasting on them, and still both of the bushes were abundantly covered with red berries. That I love to look at, but don’t really like.
So I handed them out to friends and family, until my elderly neighbor told me that I just had to try to make jam. She promised me it wouldn’t be hard at all and that she did nothing fancy with her recycled pots and it would keep 6 months anyway. So I finally decided to give it a try. But it had to be jelly. Redcurrant should be eaten as jelly, not as jam. Don’t ask me why, that’s just the way I feel it. So here I bring to you: redcurrant jelly for those who never attempted to make anything jam-ish before. Foolproof, so to speak.
Pick the little red berries. I cute little helper makes that job even more enjoyable. Leave those stalks and stuff on and put them in a strainer. Rinse thoroughly. Weigh them. I had about 600 grams.
Cook them like you would make cranberry sauce. I added about 200 ml of water. Stir so they don’t burn. You want them to burst open and release their juices. Don’t mind the stalks and stuff. They will add extra pectin to the mix, which is a good thing when you’re making jelly.
Find a pristine kitchen towel that you’re not too attached to (I used those gauze-like baby cloth towels) and a bowl (or maybe a good size measuring cup). Put the redcurrant in the towel, and hang them above the cup (you could let them rest in a mesh, if you want to, but I happened to have good knobs on my kitchen cabinets). Don’t push through to speed things up. Leave them hanging for quite a while (some say a whole night, but I reckon that two drops during the last two hours isn’t worth the wait). If you squeeze them, the jelly might become cloudy. Of course you could decide that doesn’t bother you at all (why should it anyway).
When the end of that process is near and the actual jelly-making is about to begin, grab your well-washed pots with lids. I simply used recycled pots (from jam, sundried tomatoes and mayonnaise), ran them through the dishwasher so they were really clean and put them in the oven. For about 15 minutes, 100°C, make sure they heat up slowly, with the oven).
Grab a pack of special jam-making sugar (jelly sugar) and closely follow the instructions. Meanwhile, put a plate in the freezer and oven mittens on your working space. When the four minutes cooking time are over, test your jelly, by dripping a bit of it on a cold plate (told you to put one in the freezer). Wait for a minute and then test the consistency. If you like it (and can’t stop licking the plate), get out your jars (hence the oven mittens). Pour the hot (!!!) jelly into the hot (!!!) jars – would be a good idea to use a wide funnel to do that. Fill them to just under the top, firmly put on the lids and turn them upside down.
I was told to let them rest for five minutes and they would seal themselves, to be heard by the click. To be honest, I’ve left them for ten minutes and haven’t heard a click. One of them was sealed when I turned it around (I couldn’t push the middle down), an other one clicked the moment I turned it around and the last one didn’t do a thing. Of course I went online to see what I had done wrong, decided to put it upside down again (which made for a jelly shake that probably shouldn’t happen). It finally clicked when I turned it around again after half an hour. And then the jelly floated on air that was on the bottom. Ugh.
Don’t worry, it will come down anyway.
Try not to hand out everything out of proudness. Save some for yourself. It’s so good!
What’s your favorite jam?