Red Currant Jelly

This is my new favourite jelly.  It is tart and tasty and is delicious on tea biscuits.  I did see our daughter spread it on toast and would be equally good on a bagel with cream cheese.


  • Red Currants
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Isopropyl Alcohol 95%
  • Clean canning jars & lids


  1. Wash, removing stems and leaves from currants.  Measure the currants into a pot.  For every cup of berries add 1/2 cup of water.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer until fruit is soft.  Pour into a jelly bag and let drip undisturbed over a bowl or pot until it stops dripping.  DO NOT SQUEEZE the jelly bag as it will make your jelly cloudy.  Ideally prepare your fruit in the evening and let drip overnight.
  3. Measure the juice into a pot and bring to a boil for 3 minutes.  Measure an equal amount of sugar into a separate bowl.  Remove the juice from the heat and test for pectin.  This requires 95% Isopropyl Alcohol.  Put 1 teas (5ml) of the isoproplyl alcohol on a saucer and add 1 teas (5ml) of the boiled juice.  Stir and let sit 30 seconds. DO NOT TASTE this mixture….it is POISON!  If it clots measure an amount of sugar equal to the juice in the pot and add slowly to the boiling juice.  If it does not clot DO NOT add sugar but return the juice to a boil and test every minute for pectin content.  It will be necessary to reduce the amount of sugar by about 20% if you have to reboil to reach the desired pectin content.
  4. Boil to the jelly stage.  I use the cold spoon method.  If you plan to use this method place about 4 spoons in your freezer before you start making the jelly, ideally put them in the freezer the night before.  After about 5 minutes of boiling start to check for the jelling point.  Dip the cold spoon in the boiling liquid.  Raise your spoon above the steam and tilt the spoon so the mixture runs back into the pot.  At first it will run off in a steady stream.  When it forms two drops that run together and drip at the same time the mixture is done.
  5. Using safe canning practices, pour into clean jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

If you are not at all familiar with SAFE canning practices go to your Agriculture government website for information.

If you do not have a jelly bag you can use a “new” pair of panty hose.  I buy them at a discount store and cut the legs up to make multiple jelly bags.  They are strong and also reusable.  Some Canners use a variety of mesh colanders, cheese cloth or fabric bags.  I like the panty hose because they are a one size fits all jelly bag.

I cannot caution you too much about being safe around the use of the isopropyl alcohol.  Set out plates and spoons to be used specifically for this purpose then remove from the counter immediately after use.  I have found this method to be an excellent way to gauge the pectin in a specific fruit.  I do not like to rely on commercial pectin as I have had runny or hard jellies which I believe is due to the fruit not being optimal (too ripe or not ripe enough) for the commercial pectin recipe.

I use the cold spoon test but some Canners use other means to the same end.  There are a variety of other methods such as a temperature test with a candy thermometer and a cold plate test (very similar to the cold spoon test).  Use which ever method you  find works for you.

I use glass canning jars (commonly called mason jars) and have just recently changed to Tattler reusable lids and seals.  They can be used time and again and will not rust or corrode like the metal lids.  You will still need to use your screw bands which come with all canning jars.  Either lid will require a few minutes in hot water to soften the seal.

I use the hot water bath method but some Canners prefer to sterilize the jars and keep them in an oven hot and ready to fill.  I find dealing with hot jars to be uncomfortable.  If you use hot jars you can eliminate the use of the hot water bath.  Both methods achieve the same result, to kill the microorganisms that could cause spoilage or make us sick.




Comments are closed.