I started out with 5 lbs of red currants which I divided in half to make red currant jelly and red currant-red raspberry jelly. My friend Katie gave me red raspberries from her bushes last fall and I wanted to use the last of them with the currents.
Red currants are seriously full of pectin. So full in fact, that the juice I extracted became syrupy upon cooling. I decided to go without any added pectin in these recipes although that did mean the use of more sugar than I prefer. However, red currants are extremely tart and a good bit of sugar is needed to tame them. I looked at a lot of recipes and settled on Darina Allen's proportions of sugar to juice on page 451 of Forgotten Skills of Cooking. Darina's recipe uses 4 cups of sugar to 2 cups of juice as opposed to the 7 cups of sugar for the same amount of juice in most of the other recipes.
Drop the currants into a sinkful of water and give them a good rinse. Let them settle and then lift them into a colander to drain. Currants grow in little grape-like clusters and you can choose to remove them from their stems or not.
Place a fork at the top of the cluster...
Very easy but somewhat tedious.
Next, put a layer of currants in a non-reactive pot and crush them with a potato masher or other likely tool. Crush the currants a layer at a time until they're all in there. Add a cup of water and bring to a boil, stirring if necessary to avoid sticking. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. If you're doing the currant-raspberry version, add your raspberries in and mash them as well. Stir together with the currants.
In the meantime, prepare a jelly bag and bowl. If your lucky you'll have a jelly bag and stand like this one. I don't. I make do with a large bowl, a flour sacking towel or several layers of cheesecloth, cotton cord, and the knobs of my upper cabinets. Wet your towel or cheesecloth and wring it out. Spread it evenly in the bowl. Have a good sized piece of cord cut. When the currants are ready, pour them into the towel-lined bowl.
Bring the juice and sugar mixture to a rolling boil. Once you reach that boil back the heat off a little. The currant jelly with froth but the currant-raspberry mix will froth a lot and threaten to overflow the pot.
When the jelly is ready, remove the pot from the heat and allow the jelly to settle. Skim off any foam.
Ladle the jelly into 4 oz or half pint jars leaving 1/4" head space. Wipe the jar rims clean, adjust lids, and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. That's how many minutes for Floyd? That's right! 12 minutes at our altitude! After processing allow the jars to sit undisturbed for 24 hours and then wash, label, date and store them.