It’s that time of year again when the Blackcurrants start to look like Purple Aki, they are so black they are purple. The constant rain has stopped me from going out and picking them but last weekend there was finally a lull in the weather and I ended up with a couple of buckets full.
Now what am I supposed to do with them?
The obvious thing to do if you haven’t worked it out is to buy a couple of bottles of vodka, bang a couple of kilogrammes of the blackcurrants in a tub and pour the vodka over. Leave this bad boy for three months then add sugar and make crème de cassis, I’ll probably write another blog about how to do this properly in three months time when I’m ready to add the sugar. If you want to make some you need to get your hands on some blackcurrants and enough vodka (any neutral tasting strong alcohol will do) to cover them and leave them in a cool dark place covered till about Christmas. You can stir them up every now and then.
So that was only about 2kg that I got rid of, it hardly made a dent.
A couple of ladles full went to making a sauce for a bit of a random simple dessert. All I did was heat a couple of ladles full of blackcurrants in a pan until they were soft then mashed them up and strained the pulp off. I then added a couple of spoons of sugar and dissolved, tasting until I felt it was sweet enough. This sauce then went on top of meringue nests with some sugar whipped cream and a few more drizzles of sauce. Easy, tasty, made up as I went along.
Having no room in the freezer meant I needed to make something that would use a lot of blackcurrants. What else could I do, it had to be, blackcurrant jelly.
I looked around on the t’interweb for a blackcurrant jelly recipe and I decided to go for this one you can find here.
It isn’t very hard to make, you basically put your blackcurrants in a big pan with enough water to cover. Slowly simmer this for an hour or so until the blackcurrants are super soft. Mash them up a bit and pass through a sieve. You then add sugar to the blackcurrant juice you have at a ratio of 1kg of sugar to every 1l of liquid. After dissolving the sugar, rapid boil for about ten minutes and test that the jelly is setting on a cold plate. After 20 seconds it should wrinkle when you put your finger through it. Keep heating and testing until it is at this setting point and then put in jars and leave to cool.
I made two 580ml jars of this jelly with a bit over a kilogramme of blackcurrants. It didn’t set as firm as I would have liked but it doesn’t really matter when you spread it on hot toast.
I made a second batch. This one I decided to simmer slower and for quite a bit longer. I was reading one of my mums cookbooks on how to make jam and all it says in there for the simmering part is to simmer slowly to release as much pectin as possible. When it came to the time to sieve it I decided to sod it and just leave all the bits in and make jam. I had already removed all the stalks which you don’t really need to bother doing if you are just making jelly and it looked quite good with all the blackcurrants still in. I had used 2kg of blackcurrants so just banged 2kg of sugar in and hoped for the best. This set much better, was less sweet than the jelly and had a tart kick when you got a big bit of blackcurrant.
I thought making jam/jelly was going to be hard to make, but it was actually very simple. If you have lots of fruit knocking about then give it a try.
I still have a couple of kilogrammes of blackcurrants left, luckily I managed to squeeze these into the freezer. I’m feeling an apple and blackcurrant crumble on the horizon.