With various voices demanding what I am harvesting at the moment it has been so repetitive to reply with the constant refrain of nothing - it's been too wet then too dry then too wet - but finally there they were, luscious little red berries peeking through the foliage - the first redcurrants of the year.
Now I am not known for my jam making, I make very little of it because we generally eat very little of it. In fact show me a ripe fruit and my first reaction is to throw it into some alcohol and make a liqueur not to smear it on some bread during the winter months.
But I was feeling all domestic goddessy today so with a colander full of redcurrants I decided that jelly not jam was the way.
Before you ask I don't know the proper differentiation between jam and jelly but to my mind it goes like this - jam has bits in, and jelly is strained to create a clear liquid. I make grape jelly, quince jelly and raspberry jam, and then there are compotes which are just stewed fruit and not set like a jam or a jelly is.
Redcurrant Jelly tutorial
The easiest way I have found to strip the fruit from the bushes is to use a fork, just run the tines along the fruit clusters and the ripe red berries will pop off into your bowl.
I use the plastic water beaker from my bread machine as my basic cup size.
Boil your redcurrants in water to the following ratio - 2:1 - 2 cups of fruit to 1 cup of water. Boil until they are dissolving - about 15 minutes.
If you have the time, you can add some additional weights and let the juice continue to drain for longer.
Once at a rolling boil, stop stirring and let the liquid cook for 5 to 8 minutes, skim off any scum that may form on top. The jelly should reach setting point at about 104°C - but I don't have a jam thermometer so do the saucer test instead - take a teaspoon of the jam mixture, put on a cool saucer and leave for 60 seconds by which time it should start to form a skin. If not let the mixture cook for another minute.
You will need to have some sterilised jars ready - the easiest way to do this is to pour some boiling water into a clean dry jar, put the lid on, shake well and leave to cool for a couple of minutes, pour away the water and immediately pour in your mixture. You can also sterilise jars in the oven, and also once filled you can boil them in a water bath.
Once opened they will keep in the fridge for a while, or store in a cool dark place until Christmas for Goose with Redcurrant jelly.
If for some reason your jam or jelly does not set - open the jar back up, reboil with some more sugar, preferably preserving sugar which has added pectin and pour into a clean sterile jar to set.
Oh I do feel all domestic goddess like now!