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Wildfood.info • View topic - Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

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Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby Lokelani » July 19th, 2012, 2:35 pm

I'm looking for an easy one I can make a small test batch of this afternoon as I have some leftover redcurrants.

The Delia Smith recipe just boils up the redcurrants, with no added water, adds the sugar, boils a bit more, then strains through muslin in a nylon colander.

http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type ... jelly.html

All the others boil the redcurrants with water, strain that juice through, then boil up with the sugar.

Has anyone got a tried & tested recipe, or can say which works best. Does the first method make a horrible mess rendering the muslin unusable again maybe? I guess Delia Smith thinks it will drain through the muslin & still be hot enough to hot seal the jars & to not start setting in the muslin, I'm not so convinced though! Her method appeals because it sounds quicker with less steps & has no added water, although I guess that may boil away....

I'm also wondering why nylon sieve, is it a leftover thing from when some metals reacted with fruit acids or something? Are modern metal/stainless steel ones okay?

Lastly, sterilising muslin. I'm going to wash it, pour boiling water over it & then iron it dry with a very hot iron. That should do the job I'd hope?
Last edited by Lokelani on July 19th, 2012, 2:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby plainleaf3 » July 19th, 2012, 2:48 pm

any good sieve will work. but nylon is most likely used since the liquid might be acid enough to react to metal sieve. nylon is easy to wash.
Last edited by plainleaf3 on July 19th, 2012, 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby Lokelani » July 19th, 2012, 2:57 pm

Thanks. I've found a nylon sieve!

Is the muslin necessary with redcurrants, the holes in the nylon sieve are tiny & the skin & seeds of redcurrant fairly large. Or is it to stop the boiling sugary redcurrant liquid from melting the nylon I wonder?
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby Lokelani » July 19th, 2012, 5:31 pm

Well I appear to have made redcurrant toffee! :oops:

After reading the Delia Smith method again I just couldn't see how it could work. If her timing for the juice/pulp/sugar syrup is right & it's going to set to a jelly in the jar then how is that going to pass through 2 layers of muslin & a nylon sieve without setting to a jelly in that? Wouldn't it be cold, not hot by the time she says to hot jar it? The other recipes all suggest that the pulp & juice alone take 4 hours or overnight to drip through, let alone a thickening sugar syrup with the pulp still in. Also wouldn't it melt the nylon sieve, pouring the boiling hot sugar mixture through? I got bored of waiting & pushed mine through with a spoon, I know it now won't be clear! I just used the sieve too, no muslin.

Has anyone tried this recipe before? I wondered if it had errors where it has been reproduced for the website, but I found it in her book I have too. It's not her first recipe that just doesn't seem to work. I don't think I'm mis-reading it......

So I trusted her only on the sugar quantity, but have now ended up with rock hard set toffee on the spoon, that tastes of sugar without a hint of redcurrant. Funnily, that's how she starts her recipe saying that's the problem with bought redcurrant jelly, that it's too sweet & you can't taste the redcurrant! I suspect the jar contents will set nearly solid too when they cool.

All very odd. I think I will just buy redcurrant jelly in future. :lol:
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby ianinfrance » July 19th, 2012, 9:23 pm

Hi, I wish I'd seen this before. Sorry. I had a very busy day and have only just come on line.

The recipe for redcurrant jelly I use is one by Jane Grigson (iirc) in her fruit book. Basically, you heat the redcurrants without strigging them (I use the microwave - the only reason people suggest using water to to make sure they don't burn and the microwave prevents that) until they are well softened. You then pour them into a fine sieve, muslin or jelly bag. Nylon is recommended because for years, no one sold stainless steel sieves, which are fine with fruit, if a little too coarse for perfection. Muslin is usually finer, but the brightest jelly is made with a proper jelly bag.

Anyway, you let the juice drip through until the mess in the strainer is pretty dry (which can easily take overnight) and then next day you measure the volume and add 800g sugar per litre. Dissolve, bring to the boil and cook fast till setting point is reached as usual. Redcurrants have loads of acidity and pectin so you don't need special jam sugar.

As you suggest, you sterilize muslin or a jelly bag by pouring boiling water into it.
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby amazing » July 19th, 2012, 10:49 pm

Last year I made Wildberry Jelly using about 7 differents types of fruit. Put the fruit in pan then barely covered with cold water and boiled it for about an hour. Strained it overnight then added 800gms sugar per litre of juice and boiled this for about 10 minutes then potted.
Just about to use last jar.
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby Lokelani » July 20th, 2012, 8:06 am

Thank you both very much.

It sounds like I chose the best method then. I just need to calculate the sugar differently next time & test for setting point like usual.

I love redcurrant jelly & cumberland sauce too that I often make from it.
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby Kitewatcher » July 20th, 2012, 12:47 pm

I think Delia's method is all wrong. I have never added the sugar before straining. Especially with redcurrant it would set before any of it had strained.
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby Lokelani » July 29th, 2012, 7:10 pm

Oh good, thanks Kitewatcher, I'm not the only one that suspects that then! :lol:
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby Kavey » July 29th, 2012, 10:13 pm

I made a redcurrant jelly not disimilar to Delia's a couple of weeks back.

I did take some shortcuts, I cooked the fruit and sugar together, and then strained it in a muslin-lined sieve whilst hot. I don't care about having clear jelly so twisted the muslin closed and used a potato masher to push and squeeze every last bit of liquid out fairly quickly. Actually Pete helped, as he's stronger. Seemed to work OK, I think.

Oh and the muslin cleaned perfectly. Was convinced it would surely stain but it didn't at all.

My method probably not ideal... certainly how Ian describes it is how I make apple or plum jelly. But it was fine.

I definitely had it at setting point, but added too much port and that made it a little runnier at the finish than intended. Oops!
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby Lokelani » July 30th, 2012, 7:49 am

I guess pushing it through stops any risk of it setting at least.

That's good that the muslin cleaned, I'm amazed it didn't stain it too. I really must use mine, so far for cheese & jelly making I've just avoided using it & having to clean it, I must get it dirty eventually!

I'm positive too much port can never be a bad thing. :lol:
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby Kavey » July 30th, 2012, 8:06 am

Muslin is cheap to buy anyway, so I'd always suggest going for it ... what's the worse that can happen, it stains a tiny bit? Still usable and if you feel it isn't, buy another. But best to make full use of it, I say!

Oh and I sterilised my jars in the oven and boiled the lids as always, the jelly was still hot when it went into the hot jars...
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby ianinfrance » July 30th, 2012, 9:06 am

Yonks and yonks ago, we bought some plain curtain netting in Terylene and use that for everything except making jellies in very large quantities, for which we use an enormous (Terylene) beer making filter. A little known fact is that Terylene was developed as a material for filters and it works brilliantly for that. The only problem is that nowadays it's not so easy to buy the plain vanilla netting. As for cleaning it... we wash it in the washing machine along with our other stuff - normally without fabric conditioner. It's got a bit discoloured after 20 years. but that couldn't matter less.
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby Lokelani » July 30th, 2012, 10:36 am

I did buy a jelly bag I saw at the weekend, as that is a nylon mesh which I thought would be easier to clean, I can imagine cotton muslin gripping all the bits with cheese making. It is very tiny though!

I've just looked up net curtains online & the plain ones I saw were made of polyester, I wonder if that would work as well as teryline?
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby asgothas » July 30th, 2012, 11:04 pm

Hi.
I am a total newbie to this forum, and also a newbie to making preserves.
I gave the Delia online method a go with redcurrants grown myself in the back garden. I used an equal amount of preserve sugar (not jam sugar)
As everyone suspects, it takes ages to drain through the sieve and double layer of muslin.
The jelly in the bowl was definitely setting, so I panicked a bit and squeezed the muslin tight as I could to get the rest of the juice through.
Like I said - in the bowl the jelly was setting so I gave it a stir in an effort to mix it with some of the warmer/ not yet set jelly.
I put in into my warmed jars and put in the waxed disks.
The Jelly looks like it isn't set. It was more set in the bowl before I stirred it and put in the jars.
Did stirring the jelly with the warmer stuff after it had cooled cause it to prevent it from setting again?
I hope that someone on here can tell me what I did wrong, as I was quite proud of the redcurrants I'd grown and want to have something to show for them, if not this year then in the future!

Thanks! Helen
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby suffolk » July 31st, 2012, 7:05 am

Hi Asgothas and welcome :D

As for your redcurrant jelly - firstly congratulations on getting a crop in this awful year! I'm planting up a new garden at the moment, and deciding what soft fruit to plant this autumn - the fact that you've got a crop of redcurrants has inspired me to consider these again despite my limited space. How many bushes do you have?

I've not made redcurrant jelly for years, but if I were doing so I think I'd have been surprised by Delia's method (heresy as I live near Norwich :shock: ) and I think I'd have gone the more usual route of straining the fruit to collect juice and then adding the sugar. But Delia's usually so reliable I can see why so many people have followed her recipe.

I'm not a preserving expert although I've done quite a bit in the past - there are others on here with more experience than me, but I'm wondering if the juice in the fruit that you had to squeeze so firmly just wasn't as mixed with the sugar as the lot that was setting. But given the fact that the pectin is so high in red currants I'd be surprised if it didn't set at all once it was stirred in.

How is your jelly now? Has it set?
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby asgothas » August 1st, 2012, 1:56 pm

Hi there suffolk, and thanks for the welcome.

I only have 1 large redcurrant which had loads of berries, and a whitecurrant which was mediocre this year.
My garden is north facing out the back, so I don't have a lot of space. I have grown some crops in pots out the front in the past, but my neighbour (who doesn't garden at all) has a habit of napalm-ing her weeds (on a windy day) with some noxious spray and last year she managed to douse my strawberries while she was at it, so I don't grow edibles out front anymore :roll:

The redcurrant jelly still hasn't set. :? I am not going to be put off though as I am going to try my hand at rhubarb jam today. :chops:
I would still be interested in why the redcurrant jelly was set/setting and after I stirred it - it remained liquid. I reckon that there is going to be a technical reason out there somewhere. :)
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Re: Redcurrant jelly recipes/sterilising questions

Postby suffolk » August 2nd, 2012, 6:27 am

Hi, the fact that you've got enough fruit from one bush is encouraging as I don't have a lot of space.

Hopefully a preserver will come back with some ideas as to what went wrong - what about boiling up the unset jelly again with some more sugar to see if that sets?
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