I read somewhere that red currant jelly is the “Caviar of Jellies.” The famous Bar-le-Duc (red currant jam) from the Lorraine region of France sells for $40 a bottle, making it one of the most expensive jams in the world. The red currants used in Bar-Le-Duc are hand-seeded with a goose quill by woman called epepineuses. That must be painstaking work to say the least. They have been making jam the same way for centuries… It was a favorite of Mary, Queen of Scots and other famous nobles. More recently it was favored by Alfred Hitchcock… Which reminds me, maybe I should watch “To Catch a Thief” while making jelly.
All the fanciness aside, I just think red currant jelly tastes great. So when a local farmer offered free red currants to me and my friend, Cherie’, in exchange for a little finished jelly… well, he didn’t need to ask twice.
We were back in no time with buckets in hand. His small shrub was so heavy laden with fruit that, in no time, we picked almost a gallon of currants each.
Being a “Make it Do” girl, hand-seeding red currants for the better part of a few days was not going to happen… especially this week. So I did the smart and easy thing. I washed the currants in a colander, carefully picking out the stray leaves and leaving the stems on, I threw them all into a Steam Juicer.
In just over an hour I had 6 1/2 cups of beautiful, clear, ruby red juice (the perfect amount for making one batch of jelly.)
For making the jelly, I used a package of Sure Jell brand pectin and followed the recipe on the box. (After trying different pectins, I have settled on Sure Jell as my favorite brand. I get consistent good results with it.)
I ended up with 10 of the most wonderful jars of jelly you could ever hope for. Now I just need a loaf of crusty french bread, and I’ll be living like a queen.