I set out to make currant jelly last year, to preserve the beautiful currants we were blessed with in our first season after planting. Due to a lack of patience on my part, we wound up with a little over a pint of currant syrup! This happy accident has resulted in many enjoyable pancakes.
The process for jelly vs. syrup is the same, except the syrup simply is not reduced as much. The recipe I used calls for no pectin. Here is the recipe I used. It’s reproduced below:
2 pounds of red currants (I chose to remove the stems)
2 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of water
Wash the currants.
Place the washed currants into a stainless steel or enameled pot (do not use aluminum or bare cast iron)
Add the water.
Cook and stir over medium-low heat until the currants have released their juices; about 20 minutes. Gently crush with a potato masher while they cook.
Drain the currants overnight; you can use a jelly bag or cheesecloth over a colander. Don’t squeeze the cloth because fine particulates will get through your cloth; resulting in a cloudy product.
The next day, measure your currant juice. Add an equal part of sugar. If you have 2 1/2 cups of juice, add 2 1/2 cups of sugar.
If you will be storing this long term, sterilize enough canning jars to hold the jelly.
While the jars are sterilizing, bring the juice and sugar mix to a boil over high heat; stir constantly to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches the gel point (220 degrees Fahrenheit, or 104.4 degrees Celsius). If you fall short of this temperature, you will have syrup. Maple syrup is heated to roughly 219 degrees Fahrenheit. Another way to measure is to heat your liquid to 8 degrees (F) above boiling.
If the jelly reaches the gel point before the jars are ready, remove from heat. Reheat gently to a simmer once the jars are ready.
Ladle the hot jelly (or syrup) into the jars, leaving 1/4” to 1/2” (7-12mm) headspace.
Process in a water bath canner for five minutes.
Depending on how you heated the liquid before canning, your syrup or jelly will thicken as the jars cool.
Ensure a good seal, and enjoy! If the jar doesn’t seal, you can always enjoy it sooner.
In my production of this recipe, I failed to heat the currant liquid/sugar mix enough to reach the gel stage. I also didn’t bother with the canning process: we refrigerated the two jars and it lasted with no issues for several months. We ate it all before it could go bad!
Either way you prepare them, currant jelly or syrup, it is a fine addition to toast, pancakes, ice cream, and many other treats. Red currants are a great source of:
Of course, making a jelly or syrup adds sugar - so as always, enjoy wisely!