Happy Friday! It’s day 501 of Semi-lockdown, although I seem to be the only person left counting.
Our internet access seems to be dropping out this morning, so this is a shorter email than normal.
The Weekend Read
This is Road Trip by Rahmin Abhari, about BLEVEs: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/road-trip-ramin-abh…
The Weekend Recipe
It’s been a mixed summer so far, with good weather early on, and then cool and rain. At least it’s nearly the grouse season, lockdown rules permitting, and it will be great to catch up with all of our shooting friends.
One thing we always have with roast grouse is redcurrant jelly, which is an excellent all-round sweet jelly, and I’ve got the easiest recipe ever for it. You do need properly ripe redcurrants though. (Sometimes redcurrant jelly is made containing vinegar, but that makes it less versatile and ingredient, so I much prefer this version).
Easy redcurrant jelly
Take your ripe redcurrants, still on their strigs (those woody twigs), and wrap in an old, clean dry teatowel (or a double layer of muslin) – this should be something you don’t mind losing, not a precious tea towel with your childrens’ drawings on it from primary school.
Make sure that the teatowel covers all of the fruit and that there are no holes in the fabric (depending on the number of redcurrants and the size of teatowel, you may need to do this several times). Using your bare hands, squeeze the fruit over a large bowl. The juice should run out fairly easily. Keep squeezing and twisting the package until you can’t get any more juice out. Its very sticky, and the juice can stain your clothes, so do it carefully (roll up your sleeves if you’re wearing a long-sleeved top). The end result will be a lovely bowl of clear juice, and the strigs, pips and skins inside the teatowel (for the compost heap or compost bin). You will definitely need to wash your hands before the next step!
Take a graduated glass jug, marked in pints, and pour or ladle the redcurrant juice into it.
Once you know how much juice you have, in pints, weigh out 1 lb of ordinary granulated white sugar for every pint of juice.
Top tip – don’t use jam sugar, the redcurrants have enough pectin to set properly without it.
Prepare your glass jars and lids – pour boiling water into them (place teaspoons inside each jar to stop them breaking), and also into the lids, and let stand for 10 minutes. Then put in a very low oven to dry off until you need them (the bottom oven of an Aga or similar low heat is good). It’s better to prepare too many jars than too few (voice of experience).
In your jam pan (or largest deep pan), place the juice and sugar together. Dissolve the sugar over a low heat, then bring to a rapid boil until setting point is reached. There are 3 test methods, see here: https://www.kilnerjar.co.uk/setting-points (I usually use a combination of temperature and the wrinkle method).
Take the jelly off the heat immediately and cool for a couple of minutes (not too long, as it will have started to set already), and then pour or ladle into the jars. If you make jam, jelly or chutney regularly, you’ll know that a jam funnel is really helpful, but it’s not worthwhile buying one specially if you don’t do this often (this type of funnel (affiliate link, you pay the headline price but we get a small amount for the recommendation) https://amzn.to/3lCKN9q . Stainless steel is best as it can go in the dishwasher, the one I have is Teflon coated so I wash it by hand to retain the coating).
You can either place the lids on the jelly immediately (if they’ve got those safety buttons, you’ll hear them “pop” as the jelly cools and the air contracts – I don’t buy new lids, they’re just reused); or if you don’t do that, leave the jelly to cool completely before you put the lids on. If you’re really old fashioned (guilty as charged), you may even use the old-school cellophane tops, which need to be wetted before stretching over the lid (and don’t forget the waxed paper disc on top of the jelly first). When my sister and I were little, it was great fun to use this type of lid as a drum, before breaking into the jam or jelly beneath. If you’re using these, you’ll need different sizes for different size jars, they usually come in 1lb and 2lb versions, see https://amzn.to/3fAhjVY and https://amzn.to/3jwusR0. (these are also affiliate links).
If the jelly has set properly, it should keep for up to a year in a cool dark place. Once open, keep in the fridge and use within a couple of months.
Reasons to be cheerful
Our last Alexei Sayle clips for the week are “I hate University Students”:
Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to the newsletter today and this week. As usual, if you have anything you’d like to share, please email me and I’ll do my best to include it in the next newsletter.
I hope you have a good day today and a lovely weekend with your family and friends. Take care, stay safe and I hope to be able to write to you on Monday.
TT Environmental Ltd