A glut of blackcurrrants is not an easy thing to get rid of! I stopped picking blackcurrants at my Mother in laws allotment when we just about filled the tub we were using and I started to get worried that there was only so much blackcurrant jam one could eat, especially when my husband announced that he didn’t like blackcurrant jam! Picking blackcurrants is a bit of a pain, so many tiny berries attached to little stalks, after a while I perfected the art of pulling the berries downwards off their little stalks, thus saving much picking over later when I got home. I needn’t have bothered as I later decided that it would be much easier to make jelly which actually needs the stems for added pectin! Luckily I still had a lot of stems attached in the tub!
Making this blackcurrant jelly is really easy but does require some time, perfect for a rainy Sunday or make it one evening and leave to strain while you sleep. I really enjoyed the bright flavour of this jelly without all the seeds and bits blackcurrant jam has.
- Blackcurrants, rinsed well (I had 4 lbs)
- 3 pints water (for 4 lbs of berries, adjust according to your berry weight)
- 1 lb of granulated sugar for each pint of blackcurrant juice
- Having rinsed and drained the blackcurrants put them in the preserving pan of your choice, a really big stock pot is good if you don’t have a special jam pan.
- Add the water and simmer until the blackcurrants are soft, this takes about 20 minutes.
- Squish the blackcurrants up, a potato masher does the job well, then strain the pulpy liquid through a jelly strainer. This takes about 3 hours or leave overnight. This is a really messy part, blackcurrant juice splashes stain badly so take care! Keep away from anything pale, such as walls! I placed my strainer in a box to catch the splashes. ,
- When the jelly bag is no longer dripping measure the juice.
- Add 1 lb of sugar for each pint of juice obtained. I got 2.5 pints of juice from my blackcurrants so needed 2.5 lbs of sugar.
- Put the juice and sugar into your jam pan and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for the setting point, mine was a little stubborn and took about 9 minutes of hard boiling, I tested after 5 minutes then at 7 minutes then at 9 minutes when finally the jelly wrinkled up on my cold plate.
- Test for setting, I use the cold saucer method which means putting 2-3 saucers in the freezer while you are boiling the juice and sugar. When testing for a set take a saucer from the freezer remove the pan from the heat and take a spoon of the boiling juice onto the cold saucer. Wait a couple of minutes and push the jelly with your finger if it wrinkles up its set, if no wrinkling happen then return the pan to the heat, boil for another 5 minutes and re-test for a set using another cold saucer.
- Pour the jelly into your sterilized jars, seal and follow your usual canning procedure. I simmered mine for 10 minutes in a water bath ( I use my large stockpot filled with boiling water).
- I got 7 mixed sized jars.
I made this jelly again this year (2014). After straining my cooked blackcurrants I had 3.5 pints of juice to which I added 3 pounds of sugar and the juice of a lemon. A 10 minute hard boil and the jelly was ready, its a particularly tasty batch this year!