Valentine Warner is a cook, writer and broadcaster, you may well have seen him on the telly (What to Eat Now, The Great British Food Revival, Ration Book Britain, Valentine Warner Eats Scandinavia). Valentine has been dubbed the Russell Brand of the kitchen by his BBC bosses, a fact I gathered from Wikipedia, and another interesting fact is that he used to be a portrait painter before turning his hand to cooking. You can follow Valentine on Twitter here and a huge thank you to Valentine for donating a preserves recipe to Accumul8!
Fresh Blackcurrant Jelly by Valentine Warner
Valentine says of this jelly “Great for spreading on fresh bread, toast, scones and for filling cakes and pastries, this is perhaps my favourite jam. It has an invigorating tang that will wake you from a sleepy start to the day more than your coffee. This comes from my book The Good Table (Mitchell Beazley)”.
Makes three jars (roughly 1kg)
1kg fresh blackcurrants
1 litre cold water
Caster sugar – the exact quantity varies depending on how much juice you get from the berries: you’ll need 450g for every 600ml liquid
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Pick over the fruit and remove any damaged berries, but don’t worry about the soft green stalks. Wash the blackcurrants and drain well. Put the fruit in a large pan with the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until very soft.
Tip into a sieve lined with a new J-cloth, folded in half, or through a jelly bag, and leave to drip through into a large bowl for three to four hours: you want to collect as much juice as possible. We’re always told never to squeeze a jelly bag, but as long as you are gentle, the juice presses through the tiny holes in the fabric and doesn’t become cloudy. Discard the pulp.
Measure the blackcurrant liquid in a jug and then tip back into the saucepan. Add 450g of sugar for every 600ml of liquid collected. Put the pan on a low heat, add the lemon juice and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, skim off any scum that rises to the surface of the liquid and boil for 15-20 minutes. Put a saucer in the fridge ready for testing the jelly later.
While the jelly is boiling, get three jars ready. Old jam jars work well, I find. Sterilise the thoroughly washed jars in a 180C/350F/gas mark 4 oven for 10 minutes.
Test the jelly for setting after 15 minutes of cooking. Spoon a little on to the cold saucer, leave for 60 seconds, then run your finger through the centre: if the jelly wrinkles on either side of your finger it is ready; if not, continue boiling for two to three minutes, then test again.
Carefully pour the hot jelly through a wide, clean funnel into the warm jam jars. Screw on the lids, then leave to cool. If you aren’t using screw-on lids, cover the surface of the jelly with waxed discs and leave to cool before sealing with cellophane circles. Store in a cool, dark place and eat within six months.
Photo of Valentine Warner, copyright of Clare Richardson
Recipe reproduced with kind permission of Valentine Warner