Fruit jellies are simple to make and great gifts, if you don't eat everything you make. Mint currant or cranberry jelly are typical examples, both being great accompaniments to meat dishes.They can be made with fruits or herbs, and will keep for a long time if stored properly.
How to Make a Jelly
Simmer fruit with water until it is soft. For soft fruit: use approximately 2/3 cup of water to 500g of fruit, and for hard fruits use approximately 2 cups of water to 500g fruit.
Strain through a jelly bag, muslin cloth, or similar.
Test liquid for pectin. This is a natural substance found in fruit which helps it set and gives it a smooth consistency. To do this, take one teaspoon of strained fruit, add three teaspoons of methylated spirits and stir well. If it forms a single clot it is high in pectin and so you'll need equal amounts of sugar and fruit. If it forms several clots it has reasonable pectin so use 3/4 cup of sugar to a cup of fruit. If it doesn't clot or there are many very small clots, again add 3/4 cup of sugar to a cup of fruit but this time also add two tablespoons of lemon juice to each kilogram of fruit used after you’ve added the sugar.
Boil liquid with required amount of sugar until it reaches setting point. If a firm clot is not formed, continue simmering to evaporate some more water.
Pour jelly into hot, sterilised jars, seal, label, and store in a cool, dry place.
Red Currant Jelly
1kg red currants
1kg white sugar
Wash the fruit and place into a heavy based saucepan - leave the stalks on.
Bring slowly to the boil and stir, press down hard with a potato masher to mash the fruit.
Cook for about 10 minutes until the fruit is soft.
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved, then boil rapidly for eight minutes.
Line a colander or sieve with muslin or gauze and place it above an appropriately sized bowl. Tip the contents of the pan into the colander. Let it drip through the cloth into the bowl – this will give you a very clear jelly. If you press the contents it will be cloudy.
Pour into clean, sterilised jars (2-3 small jars) and seal while hot.
1 cup chopped mint
1-2 cups sugar
Place cut up apples (don’t use sweet ones) in a large saucepan or boiler and just cover with water.
Cook until the apples are very tender, and then strain off the liquid.
Make a mint tea with 1 cup of chopped mint in 1 cup of boiled water; let it steep for 24hrs then drain off the leaves.
Mix the apple juice liquid you collected with the liquid from the mint, 3 to 4 parts apple juice to 1 part mint tea, and add an equal volume of sugar and allow it to set.