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Red Currant Jelly

Red Currant Jelly

Red Currant Jelly
© Denzil Green

Red Currant Jelly is a clear, scarlet-tinted seedless jelly made from the juice of red currants, water and sugar. No pectin is require in making it. Red Currants are also very acidic, so no added acid is needed to make the jelly safe for canning.

Bar-Le-Duc is a famous French jelly made from red currants. In French cooking, the jelly is used along with creams to flavour sauces for wine-braised boar or venison. This saucing technique is called "grand veneur." You can use it with beef and pork as well.

The English like to serve red currant jelly with lamb. It's also the basis of the English sauce known as Cumberland Sauce.

Cooking Tips

Here are two versions of a red currant jelly recipe.

The first is a traditional pectin-free, high refined white sugar version. The second is a reduced or sugar-free version that uses no-sugar needed pectin.

You will need 1/4 litre ( 250 ml / 1 cup / 8 oz) or smaller jars with two-piece lids.

For both recipes

Wash red currants. There is no need to remove the stems (aka "ribs"); you can just leave them on. In fact, many feel that the stems provide added pectin for a good set.

Place red currants and water in non-reactive saucepan.

  • Per 500 g ( pound) of berries, use 125 ml (1/2 cup / 4 oz ) of water.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally and mashing gently every now and then until you have a pulp -- about 20 to 30 minutes. (Note: mash by hand, don't use a blender, food processor or anything electrical as that will damage the pectin.)

Spoon into a jellybag or cloth to drain, suspended over a bowl. Let stand and drain at least 12 hours. When letting the juice drain, don't squeeze the bag or cloth to speed it up, or your jelly may well get cloudy.

Traditional sugar version of red currant jelly

Put this juice and sugar in a non-reactive saucepan according to the following quantities:

  • Per 250 ml (1 cup / 8 oz) of juice, add 250 g (1 cup / 8 oz in weight) of sugar. You can reduce the sugar a bit if you like your jelly tarter in taste.

Stir to dissolve sugar, bring to a boil and let boil rapidly, skimming as needed.

(Note: no lemon juice is required as the acidity of red currants -- average 2.8 pH -- is high enough on its own to provide safety.)

After a bit, remove the saucepan from heat. Put a teaspoonful of jam onto a cold saucer. Let it cool a few minutes, and run a finger through it. If it wrinkles, it's done. If not, put saucepan back on heat, boil a few more minutes, then test again. Repeat until you get the wrinkled effect.

Remove from heat, and can the jelly as per directions further below.

Sugar-free or reduced-sugar version of red currant jelly

Per 250 ml (1 cup / 8 oz) of juice:

  • 1 teaspoon Pomona's pectin
  • 1 teaspoon calcium water
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (optional, for flavour only, not a safety requirement)
  • Sweetener of choice: Either (1) up to 125 g (1/2 cup) of white sugar or Splenda®, OR (2) 2 tablespoons of honey, OR (3) 1 teaspoon of liquid stevia OR (4) another sweetener au choix, with quantities determined by you.

Add Pomona's pectin and calcium water to warm / cool juice in a saucepan. Stir to dissolve the pectin. When pectin is dissolved, add sweetener of choice. Put saucepan on stove, and bring to a boil, stirring vigorously. This should take 1 to 2 minutes. If you are using refined white sugar, make sure it all dissolves. [1] Once the jelly reaches a boil, remove from heat, and can it as per directions below.

Canning red currant jelly

Use 1/4 litre ( 250 ml / 1 cup / 8 oz) or smaller jars with two-piece lids.

Pour into jars leaving 1 cm (1/2 inch) of headspace, wipe rims, put lids on.

Process either via water bath canner, or steam canner for 10 minutes. Adjust processing time for altitude.

(As per the National Center for Home Food Preservation and USDA, there is no need to sterilize the jars or lids in advance if the processing time is 10 minutes or longer; just wash the jars.)


See also:


Bar-Le-Duc Jelly; Cane Jelly; Jelly Moulds; Jelly; Linen Crash Jelly Bag; Maple Jelly; Pea Jelly; Quince Paste; Red Currant Jelly

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Oulton, Randal. "Red Currant Jelly." CooksInfo.com. Published 26 September 2010; revised 18 July 2015. Web. Accessed 07/29/2016. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/red-currant-jelly>.

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