Blackcurrant jelly is one of my favourite preserves, and I make it every year when the fruit is in season. In the supermarket the berries can be quite expensive, but if you head down to a local ‘pick your own’, you’ll pay a much more reasonable price. Or better yet, find them in the hedgerows, or grow your own!
The best of the berries are found in August. Picking them can be quite laborious, so if you have kids, send them in to do the hard work. Getting the children to compete to collect the most blackcurrants is a great way to get the work done quickly!
And once the picking is done, this is one of the most simple preserves to make. Blackcurrants contain a lot of pectin, so getting the jelly to set should be pretty easy. And forget using jelly bags to filter the fruit juice overnight – using a regular sieve is perfectly sufficient for a delicious homemade blackcurrant jelly.
- 1 kg blackcurrants
- 1 litre water
- 1.25 kg granulated white sugar
- Place the blackcurrants and water into a large saucepan, and simmer until the blackcurrants have become soft and mushy – about half an hour.
- Place your jam jars, lids, jam funnel, and ladle into a cold oven, and set the temperature to 140°C/280°F (120°C/250°F fan).
- Put a couple of saucers into the freezer, to test for set later.
- Place a fine mesh sieve over your preserving pan, and strain the juices from the blackcurrant pulp. Press down on the fruit to extract all the juice and pectin, then discard the contents of the sieve.
- Add the sugar to the preserving pan, and bring the jelly to the boil. Boil for about 5 minutes, or until the temperature reaches 105°C/220°F, then remove from the heat.
- To test for set, place a small amount of jelly onto an ice-cold saucer and leave for 5 minutes.
- Push your finger through the jelly. If it wrinkles and doesn’t flood back to fill the space, it’s ready. If not set, return the jelly to the boil for another few minutes, and check again.
- Remove your sterile jars from the oven, remembering not to touch the inside.
- Use the jam funnel and ladle to fill the jars, and place the lids on. A magnet can help to lift the jar lids from your baking sheet.
- Secure the lids and leave to cool completely.