Bursting with the fresh and vibrant flavor of summer, this beautiful and delicious Red Currant Jelly recipe is made without pectin, requires just two ingredients!
Growing up in Germany and England, red currant jelly is something I enjoyed on a regular basis and I was so disappointed when I moved to the U.S. to find that it is virtually unknown here. Unable to find fresh red currants or red currant jelly in the stores or at the farmer’s markets, I started growing my own. Now I can open up a jar of this homemade jelly and enjoy the delicious taste of red currants all year long.
A popular condiment throughout Europe, in particular England, France, and Germany, this homemade red currant jelly without pectin is made with only two ingredients and can be ready to grace your table any time of the year. From savory roast meats to sweet pastries and confections, you won’t be able to get enough!
What Are Red Currants?
Red currants are a type of berry known for their bright, tart, sweet taste and harvested during the summer season. These bright red berries are considered part of the superfruit category. They might be small but they pack a punch when it comes to antioxidants, vitamin C, and potassium. Great for snacking on their own, they are also often made into jellies (like the one we’re making today) or sauces. Aside from their health benefits, red currants are even used in face masks to brighten and firm the skin. These beautiful red gems can do it all!
How to Use Red Currant Jelly
Red Currants are bursting with such tangy flavor, they pair perfectly with anything from venison to English muffins. Of course spreading this jelly on your morning toast is the easiest way to enjoy this tart treat. But it can be used for so much more! Try it with lamb, roast chicken, or turkey as you would a classic cranberry sauce. Charcuterie boards are another great way to enjoy this jelly – it’s a delicious accompaniment to your smokey meats and cheeses.
If you’re looking for the sweeter side of this delectable jelly, it’s great for English muffins, scones, pound cake, coffee cake, or used as a filling in pastries, pop tarts, and muffins. Mix it in yogurt, use it to flavor cake frostings, use it in English trifles, layer cakes, thumbprint cookies, Linzer Kekse, and more. One of of the many ways I like to eat this red currant jelly is by spreading it on my homemade English Crumpets – it’s SO good!
Does Red Currant Jelly Require Pectin?
Nope! Red Currants are not only high in vitamins, they are also high in natural pectin and acidity which enables it to gel beautifully without any additional pectin. Red currants and sugar are all you need!
Do I Have to Remove the Seeds?
No, it’s entirely up to you. You can either remove the seeds with food mill to make a smooth red currant jelly or you can leave the seeds in if you prefer some texture. It’s strictly a matter of personal preference.
How Long Does Homemade Red Currant Jelly Keep?
Red currant jelly can be stored in a sealed jar in the fridge for several months. When properly canned, this jelly can sit on the pantry shelf for at least 12 months without losing any of that amazing flavor. I grow my own red currants and make several batches of this jelly to have on hand throughout the year. It’s a particularly wonderful addition to any festive table and it also makes a great gift. You really can’t beat that homemade touch.
Red Currant Jelly Recipe
Let’s get started!
You can use fresh or frozen red currants. Rinse and drain them. If you’re planning on making jelly by removing the seeds, don’t worry if your berries have stems – just add the berries with their stems directly in to the pot. If you are making jam and are not running the berries through the food mill, be sure to remove and discard all the stems and leaves.
Add just a little bit of water to the bottom of the pot – just enough to cover the bottom to prevent scorching. Cook the currants, stirring frequently, until they are soft and wilted.
Run the berries and liquid through a food mill.
Weigh how much of berry pulp you have and then place it all back into the pot and discard the remnants left in the food mill.
Typically jam recipes call for a 1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar so in the case of this red currant jelly you will weigh the red currant puree and then use the same amount of sugar. That said, feel free to use less sugar if you prefer, it will not impact the safety of your jam/jelly for canning.
Add the sugar to the berry puree in the pot and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to boil the berry puree for 5 minutes and then do a wrinkle test to check if the jelly has set. You do this by placing a plate in the freezer for several minutes. Then spoon a tiny bit of jelly onto the chilled plate and wait a couple of minutes. Push against the jelly mixture with your finger; if it wrinkles when you push it the jelly is set and ready. If it doesn’t let the jelly mixture boil for a few more minutes before testing it again.
Ladle the hot jam into sterilized jars and wipe the rims clean before screwing on the lids. For long-term storage process in a water bath canner for 5 minutes (mine was packed so this time I used a regular extra large pot and layered dish towels on the bottom so the jars didn’t make contact with the metal bottom). Carefully remove the jars and let them sit undisturbed for 24 hours before removing the lid rings. Store in a dark, cool place where they will keep for at least 12 months.
Alternatively you can skip the water bath process and let the jars cool completely after filling them and then store them in the fridge for up to several months.
For more delicious homemade jams and spreads be sure to try our:
- Toasted Hazelnut and Date Spread
- Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
- Blackberry Jam
- Plum Jam
- Black Currant Jam
- Wild Huckleberry Jam
- Peach Bacon Jam
- Blueberry Lemon Apricot Jam
- Lemon Lime Marmalade
Red Currant Jelly
- fresh or frozen red currants , rinsed and drained (leaves removed; if you're using a food mill to remove the seeds you do not need to remove the stems)
- sugar (an equal amount in weight to the weighed berry pulp; see directions below)
- Place the red currants in a heavy stock pot. Add just a little bit of water to the bottom of the pot - just enough to cover the bottom to prevent scorching. Cook the currants, stirring frequently, until they are soft and wilted.
- Run the berries and liquid through a food mill (this is optional if you wish to remove the seeds). Weigh how much of berry pulp you have and then weigh an equal amount of sugar. Place the berry pulp and the sugar back in the pot. Bring it to boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to boil for another 5-10 minutes and then do a wrinkle test to check if the jelly has set. You do this by placing a plate in the freezer for several minutes, then spoon a tiny bit of jelly onto the chilled plate and wait a couple of minutes. Push against the jelly mixture with your finger. If it wrinkles when you push it the jelly is set and ready. If it doesn't let the jelly mixture boil for a few more minutes before testing it again.
- Ladle the hot jam into sterilized jars and wipe the rims clean before screwing on the lids. For long-term storage process in a water bath canner for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the jars and let them sit undisturbed for 24 hours before removing the lid rings. Store in a dark, cool place where they will keep for at least 12 months.Alternatively you can skip the water bath process and let the jars cool completely after filling them and then store them in the fridge for up to several months.