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A classic red currant jelly made from fresh redcurrants. This came from my one of my mother's handwritten recipes. I do not know its origin, but know it probably dates back to the early 1940s.
387 people made this
- 2kg fresh red currants
- 260ml water
- 1.5kg caster sugar
- 125ml liquid pectin
MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:30min ›Ready in:1hr
- Place the redcurrants into a large pot, and crush with a potato masher or berry crusher if you have one. Pour in water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the fruit through muslin, and measure out 1.25L of the juice.
- Pour the juice into a large saucepan, and stir in the sugar. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat, and stir in the liquid pectin immediately. Return to a full rolling boil, and allow to boil for 30 seconds.
- Remove from heat and skim off foam from the top. Ladle or pour into sterile 8 oz jam jars, filling to within 1cm of the top. Wipe the rims with a clean damp cloth. Cover with new sterile lids and rings. Process covered in a bath of simmering water for 10 minutes.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(26)
Reviews in English (20)
I think a little less sugar would help the flavour of the fruit be more intense.-15 Sep 2013
I use roughly the same recipe, but sometimes when I have an abundance of currants, I need to freeze. In this case remember to use less water from frozen currants. Also good to note that when picking the currants, take stem and all. The currants lose their own pectin if taken from the stems when picked. Since the berries are strained anyway, the stems can be strained then:-) All tips provided by a 94 year old friend who gave me her currant bushes.-25 Jun 2009
This recipe worked fantastically even without the added pectin! I haven't had it fail yet. I also add herbal flavourings such as rosemary during the cooking phase. It adds a nice touch to the final product.-27 Jul 2008
The Cottage Smallholder
Homemade redcurrant jelly
Who needs to wear rubies when you can decorate your table with jewels such as these?
Redcurrant jelly is the king of jellies. All jellies shine but redcurrant jelly glitters. It enhances the food that it’s served with. If you’re only going to make one jelly in your life, make redcurrant. You’ll never regret it.
I’m pretty sure that my mother used make this when I was growing up. I remember that redcurrant jelly was the star turn of Sunday roast lamb. I’ve loved it since I can remember Mum hauling out the heavy roasting pan from the oven and kicking the door shut in one fell swoop. As she made the gravy on the stove top, I’d lay the table and find the redcurrant jelly in the larder.
It was never decanted, just set on a saucer with a teaspoon. I smothered that clear ruby brightness on lamb, potatoes and surreptitiously mixed it into the gravy – this even made the green vegetables taste better!
Red currant jelly is so easy to make and is in a completely different class than 99% of the jelly that is commercially available. This tends to be oversweet and must have something to do with the extra long shelf life that supermarkets insist on – more sugar preserves the jelly for their rule of a two year sell by date.
Don’t worry, all our jelly recipes last for ages. After a year or so they will start to thicken rather than go mouldy. This thick jelly is perfect for adding to casseroles and can be thinned by stirring in a little boiling water.
Red currant jelly is usually partnered with lamb but it’s good with any fatty meat such as pork too. It can also add a lot of zip to a Brie or goat’s cheese sandwich. I also like some spread lightly on warm buttered toast or Scotch pancakes if I need an energy boost mid afternoon.
If you don’t grow redcurrants see if you can find a pick your own nearby as currants are exorbitantly expensive in the shops. They are fiddly to pick, so this must be the reason why.
My recipe is sweet yet tart. Taste it when the sugar has dissolved before you start your rolling boil. Add a more sugar if you’d prefer it a little sweeter- adding the sugar in 50g increments, tasting after it has dissolved completely.
- • 800g of redcurrants, keep the stalks on and don’t top and tail.
- • water to cover the redcurrants (so they are just beginning to float)
- • White granulated sugar (the amount depends on the volume of juice extracted from the simmered, drained fruit. Ipt/570ml of juice to 1lb/400gms of sugar
- Wash the redcurrants and discard and bruised fruit. Put the redcurrants into a large saucepan and cover them with cold water.
- Bring the redcurrants and water to the boil and simmer very gently until all the fruit is soft and mushy (roughly 20 minutes, depending upon how ripe the fruit is).
- Pour the cooked fruit through sterilised muslin. (How do I sterilise muslin? See tips and tricks below). The muslin is often referred to as a “jelly bag”. We use tall buckets to catch the drips from the jelly bags. Rather than hang the bags (conventional method-between two stools) I find it easier to line a large plastic sieve with the muslin. This clips neatly onto the top of a clean bucket. The sieve is covered with a clean tea cloth to protect against flies, as the jelly bag generally drips overnight.
- Measure redcurrant juice the next day and pour it into a deep heavy bottomed saucepan. Add 400g/0.88 pounds of white granulated sugar for each 570ml/1 pt of juice.
- Heat the juice and sugar gently, stirring from time to time. Make sure that that all the sugar has dissolved before bringing the liquid slowly to the boil. Continue to boil for about five minutes before testing for a set. Our jelly took just ten minutes to set. (What is testing for a set? See tips and tricks below).
- Toss in a nugget of butter towards the end to reduce the frothing that often occurs.
- When jelly has reached setting point pour into warm sterilised jars using a funnel and ladle. (How do I sterilise jars? See tips and tricks below).
- Cover immediately with plastic lined screw top lids or cellophane tops secured with a rubber band. Label when cold and store in a cool, dark place. Away from damp. (What do I do if my jelly is too liquid? See Tricks and tips below)
- We had 1 pint of juice and this made 4 small jars of jelly.
Tips and tricks:
• What is a jelly bag?
A jelly bag is traditionally a piece of muslin but it can be cheesecloth, an old thin tea cloth or even a pillowcase. The piece needs to be about 18 inches square. When your fruit is cooked and ready to be put in the jelly bag, lay your cloth over a large bowl. Pour the fruit into the centre of the cloth and tie the four corners together so that they can be slung on a stick to drip over the bowl. Traditionally a stool is turned upside down, the stick is rested on the wood between the legs and the jelly bag hangs over the bowl. We experimented and now line a sieve with muslin, place it over a bucket and cover the lot with clean tea cloths (against the flies). An old piece of sheet, pillowcase or even a Jiffy cloth can be used instead of muslin.
• How do I sterilise muslin/the jelly bag?
Iron the clean jelly bag with a hot iron. This also works with tea cloths.
• What is Jam “set” or “setting point”?
Getting the right set can be tricky. I have tried using a jam thermometer but find it easier to use the following method. Before you start to make the jam, put a couple of plates in the fridge so that the warm jam can be drizzled onto a cold plate (when we make jam we often forget to return the plate to the fridge between tests, using two plates means that you have a spare cold plate). Return the plate to the fridge to cool for approx two minutes. It has set when you run your finger through it and leave a crinkly track mark. If after two minutes the cooled jam is too liquid, continue to boil the jam, testing it every few minutes until you have the right set. The jam is far more delicious if it is slightly runny.
• How do I sterilise jam jars?
We collect jars all year round for our jelly, chutney and jam making sessions. I try to soak off labels and store the clean jars and metal plastic coated screw-top lids in an accessible place. The sterilising method that we used is simple. Just before making the jam, I quickly wash and rinse the jars and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160c (140c fan-assisted). When the oven has reached the right temperature I turn off the heat. The jars will stay warm for quite a while. I only use plastic lined lids for preserves as the all-metal lids can go rusty. I boil these for five minutes in water to sterilise them. If I use Le Parfait jars, I do the same with the rubber rings.
- 4 pounds well-trimmed beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
- 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 tablespoons juniper berries
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 3/4 cup red currant jelly
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Spaetzle with Gruyère and Caramelized Onions
In a large bowl, toss the beef with the celery, carrots, onions, wine, bay leaves, juniper berries, rosemary and thyme. Cover and refrigerate overnight, stirring a few times.
Drain the meat and vegetables in a colander set over a bowl. Pick out the juniper berries and discard them reserve the marinade. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add half of the meat and vegetables and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Stir and cook until lightly browned all over, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the meat and vegetables.
Return the meat and vegetables to the casserole. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the casserole. Add the reserved marinade and the tomato paste and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the stock and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the currant jelly, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Drain the stew in a colander set over a bowl. Transfer the pieces of meat to a platter. Press on the solids in the colander to extract as much liquid as possible. Pour the liquid back into the casserole and return the meat to the pot. Stir in the cream and bring to a simmer. Season the stew with salt and pepper.
In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of red currant jelly over moderate heat, stirring. Ladle the stew into large shallow bowls. Drizzle the warm jelly over the stew and serve with the spaetzle.
- 4 pounds fresh red currants
- 1 cup water
- 7 cups white sugar
- 4 fluid ounces liquid fruit pectin
Place the currants into a large pot, and crush with a potato masher or berry crusher if you have one. Pour in 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the fruit through a jelly cloth or cheese cloth, and measure out 5 cups of the juice.
Pour the juice into a large saucepan, and stir in the sugar. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat, and stir in the liquid pectin immediately. Return to a full rolling boil, and allow to boil for 30 seconds.
Remove from heat and skim off foam from the top. Ladle or pour into sterile 1/2 pint jars, filling to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe the rims with a clean damp cloth. Cover with new sterile lids and rings. Process covered in a bath of simmering water for 10 minutes or the time recommended by your local extension for your area.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (about 4 ounces), divided
- 2 small white onions, thinly sliced (4 cups)
- 1 medium-size red cabbage (about 2 1/2 pounds), cored and thinly sliced (about 12 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup red currant jelly
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Heat 1/4 cup butter in a large, high-sided skillet over medium. Add onions, and cook, stirring often, until tender and translucent, 10 to 12 minutes. Add cabbage, and cook, stirring often, until slightly wilted, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in vinegar and sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Add red currant jelly, salt, and remaining 1/4 cup butter stir until jelly and butter have melted. Serve hot.
Today’s job: To reproduce Baxters Redcurrant and Beetroot Relish (or Chutney, I misremember which), which I became quite fond of in the 90s, briefly, before it vanished. Occasional checks of Baxters website since then have failed to turn it up.
A quick check today, however, while still coming up blank in chutneys and relishes, gave me this, in Condiments – Traditional Beetroot in Redcurrant Jelly, described as “Delicious pickled Baxters beetroot combined with ripe redcurrants …”. But surely more of a relish than a condiment, I’d have thought. And there are no “ripe redcurrants,” just juice and pectin to set it.
I have no idea if this is the original product – my gut feeling is no, it’s not – but as none of the supermarkets at which I shop actually stocks it, I might never find out.
So, I shall make my own version of it. I have ample supplies of lightly pickled beetroot, my own, in sweetened cider vinegar, and a couple of jars of Baxters own baby beets in sweet vinegar (hey, guys, a tip, yours are undercooked**), plus a jar of redcurrant jelly.
**A common failing in commercially-produced pickled beetroot (I assume it’s so they don’t disintegrate on their way through the machinery), which is why I’ve made my own for many years.
The plan, then, is to sacrifice my beetroots for the greater good, finely dice them (as Baxters did originally – and I mean finely, so that they don’t make humps in sarnies), and combine them with the redcurrant jelly. Of course, I might well have red fingers for the rest of the week, but what the hell?
I’ve not decided what else to put in. I have some rather nice balsamic cider vinegar, from Aspall (a blend, not traditional), and I think a drop of that might be good, plus a little salt. Baxters put lemon juice in the current version, something I abhor as it’s way too acidic and makes everything taste of bloody lemons!
So, folks, watch this space and, if it works out I’ll post the recipe – though you could probably figure it out from the foregoing…
And if you do give it a try, wear old clothes – beetroot stains might not come out.
Oh bugger! The alert among you will realise that, despite the title, there’s no recipe. Trouble is I can’t change it without confusing Google, but the recipe is coming, as promised. And it did – scrolls down a little.
And here it is, about an later.
A jar of Redcurrant Jelly (I could only get Sainsbury’s), 250g
An equal quantity of finely diced cooked beetroot, lightly pickled in sweet vinegar if available, or a vacuum-pack (take care, some vac-packs are dressed in a really vicious industrial vinegar – you want beets without vinegar).
A generous tablespoon of caster sugar, or to taste
If using vac-packed beetroot, add a fairly mellow balsamic vinegar to taste, or a little cider vinegar. Aspall would be my choice in either case
Mix well and spoon into sterilised jars (I use sodium metabisulphite, from home-brew stores or Amazon). I wound up with a full 370g jar, and half-filled the the jar the jelly came in, 125g-ish. Not bad for 15 minutes work.
Quantities, by the way, are not critical as long as you have roughly equal amounts of beetroot and jelly. And enough jars.
It tastes pretty good, but after it’s matured in the fridge (keep it in there, btw), it should be even better
It’s very good with cheese.
Incidentally, once you’ve broken down the firmly-set jelly to mix in the beetroot, it will remain somewhat fluid. It’s possible that if the mix were to be re-boiled it might set again. Personally, I’m OK with it as it is, but if you try re-boiling, do let me know how it works out.
Redcurrants and Whitecurrants
I like the combination of redcurrants mixed with strawberries and raspberries in equal quantities for one of the simplest of desserts.
Hand them round with caster sugar and cream, and summer is in every spoonful. Whitecurrants can be used as well for added contrast of colour, and this combination makes a lovely filling for Meringues with Summer Fruit. To prepare currants, all you do for a hasty separation of currants from stalks is take a bunch in one hand, hold the stalk firmly, then slide the stalk in between the prongs of a fork held in the other hand. Now pull from top to bottom, sliding them all off in one swift movement.
Redcurrant jelly: Redcurrant jelly is an invaluable ingredient for sauces, gravies or just to serve with lamb or game – but do make sure it’s a good-quality one with a high fruit content, such as Tiptree: cheaper versions are far too sweet, which obliterates the real flavour of the redcurrants, or better still make your own - see recipe below.
Redcurrant Jelly and Blackberry Jelly
I haven’t made a lot of jellies in the past for a couple of reasons. Firstly they seemed all a bit too much effort, and secondly I thought it was a waste of good fruit: a lot of it gets thrown away and you end up with a much smaller quantity of jelly than you would of jam.
However, having made the effort this year I am converted. And it seems that it isn’t actually as much effort as I had thought. Having a proper jelly strainer makes it all incredibly simple but you can make your own with some muslin and an upturned stool. I bought a strainer in the sales last year (or was it the year before?) and it has been languishing in the cupboard pretty much ever since.
Redcurrants are perfect for making jelly. I can never resist picking them because they are so pretty and then struggle to know what to do with them.
Picking redcurrants – one of my brother’s amazing photos
Last year I put some into the freezer with the intention of using them for redcurrant sauce for things like duck. I still haven’t found a recipe that doesn’t need redcurrant jelly as well as fresh redcurrants! So this year, as well as making some redcurrant curd, I decided to make some redcurrant jelly. But forgot to save any redcurrants for the freezer for sauces… Maybe next year I will manage both!
The basic principle of making jellies is to simmer your fruit until pulpy, strain off the juice, and then boil the juice with sugar until it reaches setting point, exactly as you would for jam.
There don’t seem to be any hard and fast rules although the majority of recipes use 1lb of sugar per 1 pint of juice (450g sugar for 600ml juice). This in itself is a little arbitrary as the amount of juice you will get will partly depend on how much water you have added to the fruit and how much of that has evaporated.
Jellies are great to make when you don’t have a lot of time. Each stage can be left until you are ready. The pulp can be left overnight to strain and you don’t need to make the jelly straight away. The juice can be covered and left in the fridge for a couple of days if necessary.
It’s important not to “help” the juice through the strainer if you want a clear jelly. They come out such beautiful jewel-like colours it would be a shame to make them cloudy for a bit more juice!
Jellies look and taste wonderful and make brilliant homemade gifts.
This batch made exactly a litre of juice but when I made blackberry jelly I topped up the juice to a pint as I thought it was pretty thick and would be fine. The thicker the juice the more concentrated the taste, I assume. And the less sweet the resulting jelly. I also assume that if you add too much water the jelly won’t set properly. The recipe I used for blackberry jelly used crabapples as well (four times the weight of blackberries to crabapples) but you can just use blackberries. For blackberry jelly you will also need some lemon juice.
Brilliant on toast, in cakes instead of jam, and of course for sauces.
These recipes will give you an idea of ratios for making jelly: just adjust the quantities for the amount of fruit you have.
450g sugar per 600ml / 1lb sugar per 1pt juice obtained
Either as above, substituting redcurrants for blackberries and adding 4 tablespoons of lemon juice or
450g cooking or crab apples
340g sugar per 570ml / ¾lb sugar per 1 pint juice obtained.
I have also tried this using 50/50 crabapples to blackberries but the blackberry taste is not as concentrated so it really depends what you are looking for.
I am also making some crabapple and rosemary jelly, hope to post that soon!
Apricot and Redcurrant Jelly
Rinse the apricots, cut in half, remove the seeds, and coarsely chop. Rinse the currants, remove the stems. Place the currants with the apricots in a saucepan. Add the sugar and lemon juice. Let sit, off heat, for 2 hours.
Add about 100 ml (approximately 1/2 cup) of water to the fruit and bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. Line a strainer with cheese cloth and strain the fruit. Squeeze the cloth to get as much juice as possible. Place the juice in a pot and add enough orange juice to have 800 ml (approximately 4 cups) of liquid. Boil with the jam sugar and orange liqueur. Cook for 4 minutes while stirring. Once the jelly sets when spread on a cold plate, it is finished. Transfer the jelly into clean, sanitized jars. Tightly seal the jars and let rest for about10 minutes. Leave to cool. Serve as desired.
Wash the fruit and place in a preserving pan (including stalks) with 400ml (14 fl oz) water. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook very gently for 20 minutes or until the fruit is very soft. Squash the fruit with the back of a spoon to release as much juice as possible - then spoon into the jelly bag or lined sieve over a large bowl and allow the mixture to drip overnight. Do not be tempted to squeeze the fruit as this will result in a cloudy jelly.
Measure the juice and the correct amount of sugar and place in a preserving pan. Stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved, then boil rapidly for 2-3 minutes or until setting point is reached. Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal. Label when cold.
Top Tip for making Redcurrant Jelly
Redcurrants are high in acid and pectin and therefore setting point is reached quickly. Only boil for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat to test for a set.