Redcurrants and raspberries

This morning we travelled to the hills behind Saltwater River here on the Tasman Peninsula.  Last autumn our friend Denis had picked and frozen for me about 60kg of blackberries, and now the raspberries are in season he had 25kg there for me to collect.  With anticipation of this treasure we set out at 6am, anxious to get them home and start jamming and baking.  The drive is worth it for the scenery, absolutely idyllic, so green as it is with the abundant rainfall of recent times.

Once the ute was loaded with the fruit, Denis asked if we liked redcurrants.  Oh my goodness, do I ever!  We spent the next half and hour picking the fruit with Denis and his wife, filling a bucket to the brim.  After a cup of tea, and with a magnificent bunch of flowers from the garden added to our bounty, we made for home.  High on the agenda today is a cheesecake to make the most of the fresh picked berry fruits, maybe a pavlova but most definitely red currant jelly.  In my opinion it is infinitely more delicious, and a far better complement to turkey or ham that cranberry sauce or jelly.  What could be better than jelly made from freshly picked, organically grown Tasmanian redcurrants?

So if you have the ability to get your hands on some redcurrants, take a few minutes to make this easy redcrurrant jelly – you will be an instant convert to be sure.

Redcurrant jelly can also be added to sauces and gravies or jus – about 1 teaspoonful to the cup.  You will be amazed at the flavour it adds.  It can be melted down and served over a steamed pudding, or even ice cream or panna cotta if it’s just cooled a little.

Redcurrant Jelly (makes about 4 cups)

1kg redcurrants

water

sugar

Place the redcurrants in a saucepan and barely cover with water.  Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, and then simmer for 20 minutes, squashing the fruit with a potato masher from time to time.  Strain through a colander, then strain the resulting juice through a sieve lined with muslin (or even a tea towel will do).  To each cup of this liquid, add 1 cup of sugar.  Bring to the boil, stirring often, then boil over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until a little of the mixture sets when spooned onto a cold saucer (or similar) and placed in the fridge for a few minutes.

POur into sterilised jars and seal immediately.  (To sterilise bottles, wash and drain, then place in the oven.  Turn oven to 110 degrees C – once it comes to temperature, turn off the heat and leave the jars for 10 minutes. For the lids – they should be very clean and dry.  Once the jelly is poured in, screw on lids immediately and turns the jars briefly upside down – the very hot liquid will sterilise them)

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