making redcurrant jelly
This is the first time I’ve made fruit jelly and I’m delighted with the results. This recipe from Pam Corbin’s River Cottage Preserves handbook is simplicity itself – fruit, water and sugar, no magic ingredients. I didn’t have any specialist kit and rather than spend £20 on a strainer and I improvised using items you’ll probably be able to find in your own house.
Make your jelly strainer using an upturned stool with a double thickness of muslin pegged to the sides. Scald the muslin before use and place a jug underneath to collect the juice.
Pour the stewed fruit into the muslin and leave to drip for several hours or overnight. Resist poking or squeezing the pulp or you’ll end up with cloudy jelly.
Measure the juice and return to a saucepan. When it is boiling add 75g of sugar per 100ml of juice and stir until dissolved. Boil rapidly for about 10 minutes or until the setting point is reached at 104.5 degrees celsius.
I didn’t have a thermometer so kept stirring it as it boiled and added several extra minutes (I tried the plate-in-the-fridge method for checking the setting point but didn’t know what jelly crinkling was supposed to look like and whether mine was!).
This recipe made 4 x 225g jars with a bit leftover. Not one to waste anything I filled half a jar and found it to be the perfect way to test the results the next day. It’s wonderful with roast lamb so I’m told or to enhance gravies and casseroles. I can’t vouch for that but I can recommend it with hot buttered spuds or in sandwiches with soft cheese.