I have written a lot about how much I love redcurrants, those ruby coloured strands of beautiful summer berries. While I usually use them in baking, as they are so good within a Redcurrant Crumble Cake, they also make a brightly coloured and tangy Redcurrant Jelly, made with only two ingredients. It’s perfect for serving with a cheese board, alongside some crumbly cheddar, and is great for stirring into gravies and sauces to add a flavour boost. It’s also the secret ingredient in a traditional British Cumberland sauce.
If you are new to jelly making, redcurrant jelly is a great starting point as it is very forgiving. Redcurrants are naturally high in pectin, the gelling substance that allows jam to set. That means you are fairly much guaranteed a beautifully set jelly, without having to add extra ingredients. When making jellies or jams your best friend is a sugar thermometer. This is because jam and jelly reach their setting point at 104.5°C/220°F. While it is possible to test for the setting point using cold plates and other visual clues, the most reliable way is to always the temperature.
I’ve given the amounts here to make a couple of small jars of jelly. If you are lucky enough to have more redcurrants on your hands, the recipe can be doubled or tripled. Redcurrants freeze brilliantly too, so if you see well-priced redcurrants at the markets, be sure to snap them up, then freeze them until you are ready to use them.
Have you tried jelly making before? Do you have any tips and tricks? Share them in the comments below. Take care out there and happy cooking. xJ.
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
- 500g redcurrants
- approx. 225g sugar
- Give the redcurrants a quick rinse, then put them, stems and all into a large, heavy-based saucepan with 250ml of water. Simmer very gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the redcurrant have softened and given out all their juice.
- Strain through a jelly bag (see note) or muslin into a clean saucepan. It’s important to leave the bag alone for an hour or more and let gravity do the work here as any squeezing of the bag will cause the jelly to be cloudy.
- When the redcurrants have drained you should have around 300ml of juice. Add 225g of sugar and heat gently, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 8 minutes or until the mixture reaches 104.5°C/220°F on a sugar thermometer. Pour into small sterilised jars and seal.
- Redcurrant jelly usually sets very quickly because of the high pectin content, so make sure to have your jars ready to go! If your jelly doesn't set immediately don’t be concerned, it can take up to 24 hours.
To use as a jelly bag, any fine mesh will do, cheese cloth, muslin etc, but I like to use the re-usable bags you can get at the supermarket for buying loose fruit and veg, they are the perfect size and when you are done they are machine washable.
You can stretch your jelly slightly by adding 100ml of clear apple juice to the red currant juice. Don’t be tempted to add more as it may not set!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 115Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 2gSugar: 26gProtein: 1g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I sterilise jars for jelly making?
Wash the jars in hot, soapy water, then rinse, place in a baking tray and heat on 120°C for at least 15 minutes. Alternatively, microwave the wet jars (not the lids!) on high for 1-2 minutes. Place the lids in a bowl and poir over boiling water.
I have loads of redcurrants! Can I double/triple this recipe?
Yes! Just keep the ratios the same. You will need 75g of sugar for each 100ml of juice from the cooked berries.
How do I store redcurrant jelly?
Redcurrant jelly will keep in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Once opened, store in the refrigerator.
I don’t have a thermometer! How can I be sure the jelly will set?
This isn’t an exact science unfortunately and is a little tricky with red currant jelly as it sets so quickly. You can try putting several small saucers in the freezer. After the cooking time is up, remove the saucepan from the heat, put 1 tsp of the jelly mixture on a frozen play and return to the freezer for 1 minute. Take it out again and push with your finger, if it wrinkles up the the jelly is likely to set and you can go ahead with bottling. If it just oozes around, return the jelly to. Boil for 2 more minutes, then try again.
What can I use as a jelly bag?
Any fine mesh will do, cheese cloth, muslin etc, but I like to use the re-usable bags you can get at the supermarket for buying loose fruit and veg, they are the perfect size and when you are done they are machine washable.