I LOVE summer. My flowers are blooming, I get to hear the humming birds fighting over the rights to my feeder. My garden has gone INSANE. The tomato plants I was worried about are now almost as tall as the fence, and teaming with fruit. It it all turns we will have a pantry full. I have massive sunflowers. My herb garden is so overgrown, that I am going to have to relocate both the oregano and the fennel to make room.
When I started this post it was a total rant about how my summer is almost gone and I have so much left to do…. then I got interrupted, never finished. Then I got some time to think and do. See I have had guests in my home for 3 weeks. Not high maintenance guests, but guests. So it’s hard to go do what needs doing. Like 4H books, and washing wool, and making jam etc…. I feel guilty when I take that time when there are people here. Now that a day has gone by, My space is mine again. Deep breath.
This morning the boys (husband and oldest son) went to hike a 14er, the middle was at a sleepover and it was just the youngest and I. We went and picked some currants. Mostly black, a few red. I live in a planned community, for some reason I have yet to understand the powers that be landscaped with fruit bearing shrubs and trees. This makes for fantastic gleaning. Remember last years plums?
So last year, my husband and I picked a small container of black currants and I decided to make jelly. There are tons of sites with recipes. Most don’t use pectin as black currants have lots of their own and you don’t really need it. Well, you don’t if you have any idea how to get sugary syrup to set up. I live at altitude, so handy things like candy thermometers are not so accurate for this sort of thing. So we are left with the “plate test” where you put a drop of the jelly on a cold plate and determine if it has “jelled” enough….. My first batch which yielded 3 jars turned into candy. It’s actually quite good we have found out in a cup of green tea. The second batch of also 3 jars was much better, but still more syrup than jelly.
This year, I have decided to use liquid pectin. Lets face it. I really want more than 3 jars for this much trouble. Not that it’s a lot of work, but when making jelly one must first make the juice. So you simmer the currants and then allow them to strain for a couple of hours in a jelly bag.
I found out last summer that you can do this twice with the same berries. So I have already simmered and strained the first batch and got 2 1/2 cups of the 5 cup requirement of juice. I am simmering the second batch. Once you have juice, it’s easy peasy with the pectin. At least I hope it will be.