Here is my mother’s recipe for currant jelly. It has real tang and intensity and a soft rather than stiff texture, far superior to any store-bought jelly. This recipe yields a small amount. If you are so fortunate to have lots of currant bushes in your yard or a friend’s, simply multiply quantities. Makes about 3 half-pint jars.
2 pounds currants on the stem, including some unripe ones
1½ cups sugar
Put enough water in a thick-bottomed pan to cover the bottom. Add the currants and bring to a boil. Stir the berries once in a while to keep them from sticking, and cook over low heat until they are soft and pulpy, 15 minutes or more.
Put the currants and liquid into a jelly bag or fine-holed colander, and let the currants drain into a bowl for 12 hours or more. It’s important not to press or squeeze the fruit for the jelly not to cloud. Discard the solids and clean the pan.
Measure the currant juice and put it back in the clean pan.
You will have just about 2 cups. For every cup of juice, add ¾ cup (or slightly more) of sugar. Heat the mixture over low flame, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil, skimming off any scum from the surface with a slotted spoon or small fine sieve, and boil hard for 15 minutes, until the temperature reaches the jelling point of 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. You can test to see if a little jelly spooned on a cold saucer wrinkles when you touch it. Or give it the sheet test by watching drips of jelly fall from a spoon: When two drops become one before falling, it is ready. Spoon the jelly into warm clean jars and sterilize them in a hot water bath if you wish to store them without refrigeration.