Friday, July 06, 2007

A tale of three jellies

Big news this week - the currant harvest was successful! We got twice as many white (pink) currants as last year, and the red currant crop was about equal to last year's white, if you can follow that. Altogether, it came to about 3 times what we gathered last year. As a result, I made 3 different batches of currant jelly.

Here is the preparation underway; first, the white currants I picked on the first day, followed by the juice they produced after several hours draining in the jelly bag.




Now, this batch of currant jelly I made in the old-fashioned way, without adding Certo pectin. It involved LONG cooking, until it reached the jelling point. It's a tricky process, because you have to spot the precise moment when it's jelling and then take it off the heat. I wasn't too sure (being the first time I'd tried it this way), and as a result, my jelly turned out rather stiff. The other thing is, it tends to really reduce the product; this only produced 3.5 1-cup jars, which seemed to me a lot of trouble for very little. Don't get me wrong - it TASTES great, but it's still a very small amount of jelly. It also darkened in cooking, because it became so concentrated, so it doesn't look as clear as you'd expect from jelly.

The second batch was also from white currants, but I had to add a little red juice, because I didn't have quite enough to make the recipe. This time, I used Certo. I also did what they say you SHOULDN'T do - I squeezed the jelly bag when straining the juice. I just needed all the juice I could get. This allows some solids to get into the juice, so the jelly ends up cloudy, but I didn't care. The first jelly was cloudy too, and I never touched the bag! This one turned a very pretty colour - sort of like pink lemonade.

The last batch, which I made this morning, was all red currants, and it turned out the classic brilliant red, crystal-clear jelly. The last two were made with Certo, so they each produced about 9 cups each, but they're sweeter than the first jelly. It's unavoidable; you have to use more sugar when you use Certo.

Anyway, here's a picture of all 3 jellies in order, from left to right.


3 Comments:

Blogger Nicholodeon said...

Have you seen this year's Art Canada stamp? It features Mary Pratt's painting, 'Jelly Shelf'. Take a look at it and you will see why I thought of it when looking at your photos of the jelly you made, and reading the 'currant' story chez vous.

Note: Her painting looks like a photo but is not.

9:33 am  
Blogger The Bovina Bloviator said...

Nich, the likeness is astonishing. Doctor, you got some 'splainin' to do!

They look delicious, by the way.

6:45 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Ooooh, that's BEAUTIFUL! I can hardly believe it's not a photograph - it's amazing how she could paint that clear, pure light.

9:32 pm  

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