For centuries, this popular spread has appeared on Christmas tables across England and France. But once you’ve had a taste, you won’t want to reserve red currant jelly for the holidays. Thanks to this simple recipe, you can eat it anytime you like.
What are red currants, anyway?
Red currants, or redcurrants, are members of the gooseberry family. (Yep—that would be one of the most sour foods on the planet.) They’re small, round, bright red and fragrant. You may hear fresh currants described as having an earthy, acidic and semi-tart taste, unlike a strawberry or other sweet berry. They’re also delicious when dried.
Have a red currant bush in your backyard? Harvest the fruit in summer when it’s firm and juicy.
What does currant jelly taste like?
It has a sweet-tart flavor, making it a delectable topping for many dishes. In addition to being cooked into jelly, currants can be eaten raw and enjoyed in fruity salads and cocktails.
How to Make Red Currant Jelly
You can make red currant jelly in your kitchen with this recipe from Taste of Home Field Editor Erin Wright. Erin says, “I have currants that grow on our farm. They have enough natural pectin that I’ve never had to add any to the recipe. However, elevation can affect this, and if pectin is needed to get it to set, just add it when you add the sugar.”
- 2 pounds fresh red currants
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 3 cups granulated sugar
Step 1: Make the juice
In a large pot, simmer the currants in water for about 45 minutes. While the red currants are cooking, gently crush the fruit to help release the juice. Remove from the heat and let cool. Pour the mixture into a jelly bag like this and strain overnight.
Editor’s Tip: Most jelly recipes say to avoid squeezing the bag, but make an exception in this case. Squeeze away to yield more juice! You should expect to get about 3 cups.
Step 2: Cook the jelly
Prepare a boiling water bath and four half-pint jars. (Check out our Canning 101 guide if you’re new to the process.)
Meanwhile, bring the currant juice to a full rolling boil in a heavy-bottomed stockpot. Once the juice is boiling, add the sugar. Bring it back to a boil for 8 minutes until the jelly begins to set.
Editor’s Tip: To test if the jelly is setting properly, lightly drag the back of a wooden spoon across the surface. It should be thick and may even wrinkle.
Step 3: Jar it up
Pour the jelly into prepared jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean, put on the lids and tighten the rings, then process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
What do you eat red currant jelly with?
Red currants make the perfect addition to all kinds of recipes. These are our favorite ideas:
- Spread it on toast for a quick, tart breakfast.
- Add a generous dollop to a cheese and charcuterie board for a sweet element alongside nutty cheeses, meats and crackers.
- Serve with roasted meats such as lamb, turkey and venison.
- Stir it into a braised beef stew.
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