Red Currant Jelly!

One of the venders at the farmer's market had fresh-picked red currants, and I couldn't resist grabbing a pint. The currants were so small and plump and bright that they were basically calling to me. I got them home and tried one... and discovered that fresh currants are NO WHERE NEAR as sweet as dried. They're as tart as cranberries! So I quickly dug through my old cookbooks to find a recipe.

The thing about old cookbooks (I have a few from the 1930s-50s; I love them) is that they assume you already know your way around making jellies. They also all seem to assume that you are a farmer who has bushels of the kind of produce you want to prepare. So I had some translating to do, and the following recipe is the fruit of my labor. (HA! Literally.)

Glowing because the window is right behind it.

Red Currant Jelly
(For 1 pint of currants, which makes a little over 1 cup of jelly. Can be scaled up!)

1 pint red currants
1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar

First, we're going to turn the currants into currant juice. Wash them well, pick out any bruised/moldy ones, but you don't have to separate them from the stem. Place in a pan with just enough water that they don't burn. (Water up to 1/4 the amount of currants is the max). Cook them over medium heat until the berries start to lose their color, 10-15 minutes.
Line a strainer with fine cheesecloth. Pour the berry slurry into it. If you want perfectly clear jelly, don't squeeze the cloth, but if you want maximum use out of your berries, squeeze all the extra juice out of them, through the cheesecloth. (You'll have to let them cool to do this.)

Measure the juice. It should be about 1 cup, but it's okay if it's scant! Basically, for each cup of juice you want a scant 3/4 cup of sugar (technically 1/2 Cup plus 2 Tbsp). So if you don't quite have a cup, just use a couple tablespoons less sugar. We're not going to can this jelly, so honestly, getting the proportions exactly right is not that big a deal. So anyway, put the juice and sugar into a pan over medium heat.

Stir this jelly mixture constantly until it reaches the jelly stage: 220 F. (If you don't have a cooking thermometer, you can figure out when it's reached the jelly stage by using a metal spoon to take a spoonful. Let it cool for a moment, then pour it back into the pan. If two separate drops form at the same time on the side of the spoon, so that it's dripping back from 2 parts of the spoon, not 1, it has hit the jelly stage. Start checking after 5 minutes of boiling.) This took me 15-20 minutes of simmering, but I think this depends on your cookware and on your stove's definition of "medium."

Remove from heat, and voila! You have made red currant jelly!


miishmash said... Best Blogger Tips

Yay, glad you're back to blogging! I have similar plans for a quart of Italian plums I picked up yesterday.

DaydreamerN said... Best Blogger Tips

I love making this! Used to make it with my grandma all the time!
I really liked the photos!! Can't wait to seed what you have for us next!

- Noelle


Sarah P said... Best Blogger Tips

@miishmash Oh man, Italian plum jelly sounds really good!