Saturday, July 19, 2008

Currants this Spring

it has been the most extraordinary year for the garden especially soft fruit. I have made vast amounts of red currant jelly, black (cassis) jelly and tomorrow I will strat on the white currants. After years of extra work, I have discovered that I don't have to stem the currants. I wash them, soss them around to uncover any leaves which I remove, weigh them and put them stems and all in heavy pot with just less than an equal weight of sugar. Stirring frequently to keep any sugar from caramelizing and sticking to the pot, I bring them to a boil until they are bathed in juice and then simmer while I bring the jars and lids to a boil.
I cook them until they collapse and then start testing for a jell by dropping a bit of the liquid on to a small heavy dish that has gotten thoroughly cold in the freezer. When the drop keeps its shape, the fruit is cooked enough. I then put the whole thing through a food mill fitted with the fine disc. This removes the stems and seed. From time to time, I need to scrape the bottom of the disc with a rubber spatula and remove some of the pulp in the food mill.
When I have finished, I return the mixture to the stove and bring to a boil. I add some citric acid to the black currant version--it is very rich--and sometimes a little water if it seems tooo thick.
Then I take two jars at a time from the boiling water and fill a jar, using a wide-mouthed canning funnel, with the hot jelly. I put the lid on. I take another jar from the water and so as to have a place to put the funnel and continue until finished.
Supplies for a year.
If I want to use the black currants as a cassis syrup, I add more boiling water.

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