Making Jelly

Method

Fruit for jelly is gently cooked to a pulp with any flavourings such as herbs or spices, and then left to drain through a jelly bag until all the juices have dripped out. If you haven’t got a jelly bag, you can improvise by using a large double thickness of muslin. Whichever you use, scald the bag or muslin by pouring boiling water through it. Measure out the amount of extracted juice and return it to the cleaned preserving pan with the sugar, the quantity depending on the pectin content of the fruit. Pectin-rich extract needs 500 g (1 lb) sugar for each 600 ml (1 pint), while extract from fruit with a medium pectin content will set with 375 g (12 oz) sugar for each 600 ml (1 pint).

To make redcurrant jelly, a fruit with a naturally high pectin content, you will need 1.5 kg (3 lb) redcurrants, 600 ml (1 pint) water and sugar (see method).

  1. Remove and discard any damaged fruit. Put the redcurrants and measured water in a preserving pan and simmer gently on a low heat, to extract as much juice as possible, for 30-45 minutes until the fruit is tender and thoroughly broken up. Stir occasionally with a large wooden spoon to prevent the fruit sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  2. Meanwhile prepare your jelly bag and bowl. If you don’t have a special plastic stand suspend the scalded bag from a broom handle placed between 2 chairs. Place a large bowl underneath the bag to catch the drips. Pour the cooked pulp into the bag and leave for at least 12 hours, until the dripping has stopped. Do not squeeze the bag at all or the jelly will cloud.

  3. Meanwhile prepare your jelly bag and bowl. If you don’t have a special plastic stand suspend the scalded bag from a broom handle placed between 2 chairs. Place a large bowl underneath the bag to catch the drips. Pour the cooked pulp into the bag and leave for at least 12 hours, until the dripping has stopped. Do not squeeze the bag at all or the jelly will cloud.

  4. Discard the pulp in the jelly bag. Measure the extracted juice and return it to the pan. Add 500 g (1 lb) sugar to each 600 ml (1 pint) juice. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to boiling point as quickly as possible and boil rapidly for about 10 minutes or until setting point is reached. Remove from the heat, skim, then pot and cover.

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