It seems hard to believe but the nights are already drawing in and the fruit harvest season is coming to an end. The autumn fruiting raspberries have a while to go yet – the canes themselves are now bigger than me and are producing a decent crop of good sized juicy berries. But both my redcurrant and blackcurrant bushes are now empty of fruit after I spent time stripping them of their jewel bright fruits.
I’d already made some delicious cordial with blackcurrants and the rest has been made into three jars of jam. But the redcurrant needs a bit more thought as its produced its best ever harvest producing over two kilos of fruit.
I’ve made half of it into redcurrant jelly using the recipe from the River Cottage Preserves book. It’s pretty straightforward. First you make your juice and you don’t even need to strip the berries off their stalks to do that. Just put them in a large pan with water, simmer and wait until all the juices have been released. Then it’s all about patience as you need to leave it to strain naturally with no pressing of the juices out of the fruit as it will make the final jelly cloudy. I have this wonderful straining bag from Lakeland and I had to stand on a stool to tip all the fruit into it.
I left it for about 6 hours before putting the juice back into a pan, bringing to the boil before adding granulated sugar stirring all the time (there is a lot of pectin in currants so you shouldn’t need special sugar for this).
You then bring it to the boil again for about 8 min until it’s reached its setting point. I test for this in two ways – using a probe thermometer to check the syrup has reached 105C and then I pop a teaspoon of the syrup onto a very cold saucer to make sure that a crinkles once cool. It’s then popped into jars whilst warm.
It’s incredibly tasty stuff. I wolfed the little that was left on the ladle as jam maker’s perks. Roll on Autumn when I can start adding this to the juices of my Sunday joint to create a delicious gravy. I just need to decide what to do with the rest of them…Any ideas?