We have had a month of hot weather and the garden is thriving in the heat. We picked the last of the fava beans this week and some zucchini, along with lots of basil. The okra and Roma flat green beans are producing amazingly well. We will have plenty of chili peppers and eggplant in the coming weeks, picked the first ripe figs yesterday, and the first heirloom tomatoes will be ready to harvest this week.
We have also had a huge crop of heirloom raspberries, and our red currant bush produced twice as much fruit as last year, so the perfect way to combine these two fruits is in raspberry-red currant jelly. The recipe came from my husband’s maternal grandmother. It was her favorite jelly, made from their garden produce. The original recipe called for steaming the currants for the juice, but I find that the flavor is better (and it is easier) if you combine the raspberries and currants, add water, and let the mixture cook until the fruit falls apart, then strain it through a cheesecloth. It produces a most beautiful, reddish-pink jelly that is absolutely delicious.
Raspberry-Red Currant Jelly
5 c. fresh raspberries
2-1/2 c. red currants
2 c. water
1 c. boiling water
4 c. raspberry red currant juice from the fruit, boiled with 2 c. water
7 c. sugar
1 (3 oz.) pouch liquid pectin
In a 5-quart stockpot combine raspberries and currants and 2 cups water to make the juice for the jelly. Bring to a boil on medium heat and let boil for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon and mashing the fruit on the sides of the pan to release their juice. Remove from heat once the berries have fallen apart. Place a sieve on top of a 4-cup measuring cup. Line the sieve with cheesecloth and pour the fruit mixture through, a little at a time. You will have at least 3 cups of fruit juice. You will need 4 for the jelly, so take the boiling water and slowly pour it over the sieved fruit mash to make 4 cups. It will take 30 minutes to sieve all the juice. While it is draining fill a water bath canner with water and bring to a boil. Sterilize 8 half-pint jelly jars. Place lids in a small pot of water and bring to a boil. Rinse out the 5-quart pot and pour the 4 cups of juice back into the cleaned pot. Add the sugar and bring to a hard rolling boil, stirring constantly. This will take about 10 minutes. Hard boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and slowly add the liquid pectin, stirring constantly until the pectin dissolves. Pour jelly into the jars, leaving a 1/2″ space at the top. Wipe the rims with a damp paper towel and screw on lids. Water bath for 10 minutes at low altitude or 15 minutes at high altitude. Makes 8 (1/2 pint) jars.