I only have one blackcurrant cane in my garden, every year the fruit yield is small but fantastic! We love the rich intense flavour of fresh black currants, however none of us are keen the way the teeny weeny seeds tend to stick between you teeth… and turn up in your mouth ages later! So, each year I make a precious little stash of black currant jelly.
The journey of my black currants, from cane to bread!
I climbed into the bushes to get right up close to the black currants to take this photo!
The currants looked so lovely, I had to snip off this little twig full of chubby shining fruit, ready and waiting to be harvested.
I then pinched off all the little stalks and picked out the few leaves that got in to the bowl as I was collecting the currants.
I was given this little HARRODS book (oh, how fancy and posh am I!) jams, jelly’s and chutney’s one Christmas about 25 years ago and have used it ever since when I have made preserves. Not only do I find the instructions easy and clear to follow, it has some simply lovely fruit and vegetables combinations. Also lots of true traditional tasty old fashioned British recipes.
Added this picture, which is on the back cover of the book, just because I think it is lovely!
The description on the top of the recipe page sums up this jelly to a tee! I couldn’t agree more!
WOW…. look at this fantastic colour, felt like I was brewing up a vat for a magic potion…. “Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble…”
So, all the fruit has popped in the rapid boiling process to produce a lovely thick bitty moooosh… The next stage is to strain off the juice. I don’t have a preserve set with proper muslin bag and straining stand, so I made do with my BIG pan I use for soups, stews and casseroles, a square of muslin (you can buy this really cheap for about £1 a mtr, but do wash and dry before you use it for jelly making, you never know if there is a starch or dressing on the fabric) stretch it over the pan and secure with clothes pegs… easy! Carefully pour the moooosh onto the muslin, it might splash so make sure you have an apron on or old tee-shirt. Leave over night so the juice naturally strains through the muslin into the pan below.
Prepare your jars. I wash them in hot soapy water, pour boiling water in each right to the top, leave for about 10 minutes, so I know they are “clean as clean can be!” Then pop them in a warm oven to completely dry, and to keep them warm.
Measure the juice and calculate how much sugar you will need (see recipe photo) I used jam sugar that contains pectin, normally I would use normal sugar, but I decided to use this sugar as I wanted it to set to quite a solid consistency. Dissolve the sugar, boil rapidly for 10 minutes, and pour into the warm jars.
This batch made six little jars of the darkest of dark deep purple thick jelly. Absolutely bursting full of rich black current flavour, you don’t need much on your bread or scones (home made?) to make your taste buds tingle with currant-tee-ness
All the time I was making the jelly I was thinking how to “fancy-up” the lids. My first thought was traditional little fabric “mopped cap” style, but gave up on this as my pinking shears are awfully blunt and kept snagging the fabric… Ping! This idea popped into my mind…
Paper muffin cases, just the perfect size, cute design… super, and it worked a treat!
The jelly is soooOooooo rich and dark these full jars look like they could be full of black treacle, honest it is the jelly!
Took this picture of three jars closer to see if you could see the colour BIG DEEP BURGUNDY PURPLE any clearer, but no, still looks black… hummmmmm I can’t get away from the fact that the fruit is called BLACK currant!
Little labels I bought from the local cook shop, I have now stuck on the jars (sorry, took photo first!)
I have given a jar away to my dear friend “A” who helped me move a big piece of furniture the other day, just couldn’t have done without her…
We are rather enjoying having the jelly on our breakfast toast each morning too!
A FEW FACTS ABOUT THE BLACK CURRANT
* They are rich in vitamin C and contain antioxidants.
* The fruit and foliage have been also been used in the preparation on medicines and dyes.
* Native to Europe and Asia, cultivated in Russia by the 11th century in monastery gardens, then in towns, villages and settlements.
* In World War Two, most fruit such as oranges were almost impossible to obtain in The United Kingdom. As the black currant was identified as being such an excellent source of vitamin C, the Government encouraged the cultivation of the crop with land owners, and it became on of the nations important crops.
* From 1942 blackcurrant syrup was distributed free to children under the age of two, thus becoming a firm favourite drink for children which continues today!
* In history, the juice was boiled with sugar to produce a syrup which has soothed such ailments as sore throats and help to reduce fever, and help with cold and flu symptoms.
* Also the leaves have traditionally been used for symptoms ranging from arthritis, coughs, and diarrhoea.
You might just be wondering why I called this blog “Middle of the Night Jelly” it could be because of it’s very, very dark velvety colour which looks like night sky, but it isn’t! I am having problems with sleeping at the moment, I lay awake many a night recently… often I get up and do something like tidy up a kitchen cupboard, have a rummage in my craft stash, often get my crochet out, but the other night I started making this jelly, completed it the following night, well, actually it was very early hours of the morning when I finally put the lids on the jars, papers and labels.
All the very best to you, Jay x
My little extra snippet for you from Snoo “Reindeers like to eat bananas” (just wonder who gave a banana to a reindeer?)