Sunday, July 11, 2010

Red Currant Jelly

For the past several weeks, they've had currants at the Farmer's Market -- little red, white and pink berries of tart goodness. I had never tried canning with them before. Generally, I stay away from berries with seeds because you have to strain them. But I recently acquired a sieve (it's amazing the amount of random kitchen gear people give you when you get married), so I figured this would be a good first test for jelly.

The difference between jam and jelly -- if you don't already know -- is that jam is made from the whole fruit, while jelly is made just from the juice. So with jam, you throw the fruit in with the sugar and boil until it's ready to jar. With jelly, you place the fruit in a saucepan with water and boil until the fruit has released all it's juice. Then you proceed like you would with jam, adding sugar and pectin to the juice.

Currant jelly is certainly delicious (it's apparently insanely popular in France) -- tart, but a little sweeter than raspberry. I definitely recommend it.

For more on canning, see here.

Adapted from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving

3 pints red currants
1/2 cup water
2 2/3 cups sugar
5 tsp pectin

Remove currants from their stems and rinse thoroughly in a colander. Place the currants and water in a saucepan. Bring to boil and gently crush the berries against the side of the pan with the back of a spoon. Simmer for 15 minutes until the berries are softened.

Allow to cool slightly, then strain the juice through cheesecloth, squeezing as much juice from the berry mass as possible. You should get about 2 cups of juice from the 3 pints.

Place the juice and the sugar back in the saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, add the pectin and stir until mixed in. Bring to a full boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and fill jars.

Waterbath process for 5 minutes. The jelly will keep unopened for up to one year. After opening, store jelly in the fridge and use within 2-3 weeks.

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