There was a time when I thought it a crime to squeeze my jelly bag and if I did, my vivid pots of fruit jelly might explode! These days common sense tells me its a crime if I don’t. All that juicy fruit in an unsqueezed bag is wholesome and rich in flavour. It deeply perturbs me to throw it all out.
With the summer months rapidly unfolding, the berries and currants of the early summer are ripening and ready for picking. Sharp tasting and rich in pectin gooseberries, red, white and blackcurrants, are perfect candidates for making gorgeous jammy jellies. The sharpness of these fruits exquisitely embraces any sugary sweetness – they are some of my best friends.
There is no need to’ top and tail’ the fruit, the berries need to be lightly poached to soften their skins and release their juice. As rule of thumb allow approximately half the amount of water to fruit i.e. 1kg fruit to 500ml water – reduce this a little if the fruits are overripe and very juicy. Poach the fruit very gently until completely soft – up to 30 minutes.
When completely soft, lightly crush with a potato masher, then turn the fruit into a jelly bag suspended over a bowl. Place a small saucer on the top of the fruit with a weight on the top (a sealed jam jar full of water is ideal). Allow the juice to trickle through, then after an hour or so (or overnight if time permits), and when the bag is cool enough to handle, give it a bit of squeeze and let the juice flow forth.