As mentioned in a previous post, we have 2 allotments, one each.  Yesterday Adrian tottled down to see to them for a few hours, and came back with a huge haul of lovely Blackcurrants.  The bushes have done SO well this year, we already have several jars of Blackcurrants in syrup stored. We are determined this year, to try and preserve as much produce as we can, and waste nothing if we can help it.

So, I didn’t really want to bottle any more, and having searched around my many cookery books and random bits of paper (I’m NOT very organised!) I found a super recipe for Blackcurrant Jelly. I haven’t tried this before, but it looked simple enough so I set to.

First you have to simmer the Blackcurrants until they are soft, then mash them to a pulp and strain through a jelly bag, muslin is fine for this.  Sounds easy doesn’t it?  Trust me, trying to crush little squishy blackcurrants with a spud masher makes for a slippery job!

It’s messy, very messy, so be prepared to have blackcurrant stained hands for a while! At the end of all this processing, mine looked like I’d spent a good couple of hours down a coal mine!  The juice looks beautiful though, sparkling clear and smells divine. Here’s my Heath Robinsonesque straining apparatus at work!

You have to repeat this process with the pulp left in the bag, so that you manage to extract as much of the precious juice as possible.  This time you have to leave the bag to drip for at least an hour before moving on to the next bit. Whilst this is happening, I would suggest retiring to the bathroom and scrubbing your purple hands to TRY and regain some of the original colour!  Failing that, read a book, write a letter, or just have  a long coffee break.

Having squeezed all the liquid out of the pulp, you will once again have bepurpled hands!  You then mix all the juice with the required amount of sugar (800gs per litre of juice), and boil it until it reaches setting point.  I ended up with 3 litres of liquid from 2 litres of water and just under 2 Kg of currants.  Then it’s into sterilised jars, and there you have it.

Scrub everything down, especially if like me, you have light coloured worktops. Leaving this job for even a few minutes WILL result in that wonderful chic, splattered worktop look.  IF you have managed to drip any of the juice on the floor as well, your kitchen may actually resemble a scene from the Texas Chain Saw massacre.  Mine did, but just LOOK at the result, well worth it!

More of Mother Natures’ bounty, stored away to bring a little summer sunshine to Winter tea times!

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