RED CURRANT JELLY

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I still remember the first time I tasted a spoonful of red currant jelly. It was in a delightful jar with a handwritten label in German, a gift from Sabine, my brother’s friend from South Tyrol. His family grew currants in the garden and made jam from them every year, and also sold them at fairs. I can assure you that I still remember the taste, its splendid, transparent wine color, and I also remember that we tasted it in a few days. Also delicious alone with a spoon.
At the time I had a strong prejudice towards jelly (always hated on cakes, or in its English forms (orange and lemon Jellies), but this currant jelly had a soft and very pleasant consistency, which had little to do with jelly industrial. Immediately the desire to make it again at home and the search for the perfect recipe. And there I discovered the secret of blackcurrant jelly which lies in the juice of its fruit. In fact, blackcurrant, and in particular the red one, contains large quantities of of a natural pectin (pectin is the substance used to gel) and therefore it is one of those jams that you make yourself, without the need to add thickeners or gelling agents. This explains the pleasant and particular consistency of currant jelly .

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 kg of currants (try to order them from your greengrocer, it’s not always easy to find them)
  • 1.2 kg (but also 1.5 kg) of granulated sugar (better the fine type Eridania),
  • 2 ripe lemons

Shell the bunches of currants and wash them delicately in plenty of clean water, removing any damaged grains.

Take a large pan with a non-stick bottom (preferably ceramic-coated) and with high edges and pour in the clean currants. Add 2-3 inches of water and put on a high heat. Cook for about ten minutes until the currants open and break down a little. Remove from the heat and filter the currant juice. To do this you have two strategies:

1 – If you are not in a hurry, arm yourself with a very large sieve (passini) (Chinois) and pour in all the currant water mixture and let it filter covered overnight. In the morning, stir what remains in the strainer to obtain all the juice possible

2 – If you want to finish everything in the same day, arm yourself with patience and little by little insert the mixture into the sieve and mix with a spoon so as to obtain all the juice from the currants and discard only the pulpy and fibrous part.

Whichever procedure you have chosen, at the end re-filter all the juice with a very fine mesh strainer (and in any case finer than the one used previously).

Once you have obtained the juice, put it back on the heat in the high, non-stick pan over a fairly high heat and add the sugar a little at a time. I advise you to add 1 kg at the beginning, and add more until it reaches the desired sweetness. As you add the sugar and the gelatine cooks, some pink foam will form which you will have to patiently remove with a sieve or slotted spoon. For this operation I advise you to keep a basin with water near the burners in which you can quickly clean the strainer or skimmer. Add the juice of 1 or 2 lemons (again it depends on your taste and how much sugar you have added) filtered and without seeds: this will make your currant jelly more transparent and clear.

Let it cook for a while over a moderate heat (it must simmer), taking care to stir with a thick wooden ladle. To find out when it is ready, take a teaspoon of jam and place it on a cold saucer (keep it in the fridge, you will do it sooner!) and when the mixture cools down it takes on a gelatinous consistency and does not drip, then it is time to turn off the heat.

Pot as usual (I recommend having sterilized the jars and lids thoroughly before) while the jam is still hot (heat it a little if needed) and turn the jars upside down.

This will allow the “vacuum” necessary for preservation to be created during cooling: you will notice this when you do not hear any clicks when you press on the lid. At this point, fill the pot with water again and boil the sealed jars for 20 minutes.

Labeled and consumed within the year (always valid for homemade jams).

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It is a jelly very suitable for oat tarts and biscuits.

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