Saturday, 3 July 2010

Redcurrant Jelly

Aren't these just so beautiful - the way they are so very red, and shiny, and translucent, against the green leaves? They are right at the end of the garden and I usually forget to net them so the birds often get them all. This year I draped a net over most of them and the birds enjoyed what they could reach, but I got the rest. There are still some ripening so we'll have another picking session next week.
Quality Control approved them:

then I had my fist go at redcurrant jelly. It was immensely cheering working with such a deep red liquid, here it is in the pan:

I heard you had to dissolve the sugar thoroughly before boiling so I stirred it for ages.

In the end I only had enough for one jar, but it does look very lovely when the light shines through it.

Sadly though I boiled it too long, it seems to need about a minute or even a bit less and I wasn't watching carefully enough - so it's set very, very firmly making it un-spreadable, in fact probably inedible in its current form. But I shall save it for Christmas recipes- you either need a spoonful for red cabbage or cranberry relish or both, can't remember without checking, and I'll have another go at the jelly next week!

Thank you all of you for your support after my last post, I'm feeling a little better and calmer and am also trying a healthier diet recommended by more than one person as helpful - basically it's no sugar at all, as little wheat as possible, preferably none, and lots of protein and vegetables. Strictly speaking you're supposed to leave out sugary fruit too for the first couple of weeks but I'm looking at my ripening pears knowing nobody else will eat them, so I'm going to have to give in a bit, I'll compromise by having them with some nuts to slow down the sugar release (all very scientific). I'm sure there are many eating plans that recommend this way of eating, I've certainly seen a few before - but it's putting it into practice that's the hard part. I think the main thing is the no sugar because processing it stresses your body and can worsen your mood when the levels dip again, so I'm trying to love nuts and seeds instead of cereal bars for snacks. Apart from a tiny taste of my redcurrant jelly I've left all other sugary things well alone, and I'll stick to it as long as I possibly can because eating unprocessed nuts, seeds, protein and vegetables has got to be better than eating biscuits and jam sandwiches at tea-time, which is what I was doing!
So I'm sure that will help - it also gives me something to focus on and means I'm concentrating on looking after myself, which we can tend to forget about when we're low. And if it doesn't quite help enough I won't hesitate to seek other solutions. Now I'm off to make a cup of (healthy packed-with-antioxidants green) tea and resist the tub of mini chocolate cakes my son wanted for himself yesterday!


  1. The jelly looks beautiful! Maybe you could put a daub in a thumbprint cookie or the center of a muffin? It seems a shame to waste it!

    I've been had a landmark B-Day a while back...have you had your thyroid functioned checked? That might be a simple explanation for your "low". A simple non-fasting blood draw is all it takes.

  2. The jelly looks lovely! I've never attempted to make jelly or jams. My mom called last night from Halifax and had just made 16 or so jars of strawberry jam that day. I'm not a big jam/jelly-eater on toast, though.

    Checking thyroid is also a good idea, something I never thought of because I had half my gland removed many years ago, long before I really struggled with the depression, and have been on meds since. But it's a good idea and a simple blood test, if you haven't already had it done.

    Good luck with the sugar- and wheat-free diet. I did sugar-free for 3 years, very strictly, then succumbed to my sweet tooth...again. *Sigh*

    I think you need to allow yourself a treat every week, if you do crave sweets, otherwise you are setting yourself up for a state of mind of deprivation, which will fail eventually. I've actually just thought I ought to allow myself one *good* dessert a week, something from a gourmet bakery downtown. Instead of gorging on sweets every single day, as I've been doing for so long now.

    And recently in the news I heard it said we ought to limit sugar to 10 grams per day. Hahaha. Anyone who reads food labels knows that's well nigh impossible.

    BTW, berries are the best to eat in terms of fruit. They take longer to digest, I believe, and so their sugar is released more slowly. Apples also are good to eat--I suppose because of the fibre--but I can't eat them. Actually, I can't eat a lot of fruit anymore at all, sadly, not without taking some heavy-duty anti-acids. (Gall stones...middle-age is so fun!)

    Lots of Light and (((hugs))) from me and good luck again! Let us know how it goes!

  3. P.S. Meant to send lots of smooches to darling Archie!

  4. That jelly looks yummy even if it is a bit hard. One thing I found worked a bit for me was giving up coffee with caffiene (or however you spell it) in it, I feel more mellow since going to de-caf.

  5. The jelly looks very good. Good luck with the diet, You never know it maybe your thyroid?
    Hope it all works out well.
    Thank you for your kind comment by the way, I will pass on all the lovely messages to my in-laws.

  6. Aww gorgeous Archie has done a grand job being Chief Quality Controller!! Look at your wonderful jar of jelly - amazing!!

    Oh the redcurrents!! Don't they just look gorgeous??! My goodness I think if I lived in your garden I'd be very healthy - fruit and veg galore!

    Good luck with your sugar free diet. I hope it works - I like that it keeps you concentrating on your health - so go for it!! Yay for you!!!

    Nuts are great and if I'm to pick one that is the yummiest without any salt or oil, it'll be macademia nuts! Oh they are lovely!! I could eat a whole tree of them!

    Monkey nuts are yum too. Have you ever noticed that if you get a pack of monkey nuts there'll be a warning "contains nuts".

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    Take care

  7. Your red current jelly sounds gorgeous. I plan on making things with the produce of my garden and foraging this year too.

    I wish you luck with your new diet plan. I have a couple of books from a Chinese Herbalist I used to shop at in Camden. One is called 'Food is Medicine', and another is called ' Kit hen First Aid'. I love them both. There is a 3rd in the series about mental health and nutrition which I always wanted to buy as when I worked in homelessness it is no surprise that clients always suffered depression or worse. They had no regular nutrition. There is so much food that can boost happiness and make us feel better. All of the aphrodisiacs for a start. If you need to cut out the sugary stuff you can always head for the advocado's and asparagus. xx

  8. Just love the redcurrants, they look so enticing, and your jelly looks lovely. I've got a great diet recipe for chicken cooked with redcurrant jelly and orange with a bit of chicken stock ... its my favourite dinner party recipe, so if you're interested let me know and I'll post it on.
    Good luck with the diet, I think it can't fail to make you feel better in some way, as we all tend to eat too much sugar nowadays ... I swear I keep Cadbury's in business !!
    Good job you've got Archie on hand to keep check of everything ... looks like he's doing a good job.

  9. How lovely that jelly looks - it will remind you of summer when you cook with it at Christmas.
    I overcooked some damson jam last year - it will only spread if I warm it first but tasted fine.

  10. Yummy looking jelly! The color is pretty~! I found that watching my carbs (which is so hard to do for me) and taking time for myself has worked wonders. I have also had to learn to not be such a perfectionist-it's just plain exhausting! Find those simple things that make you happy and force yourself to dwell on them! Have a fabulous week! :)

  11. I think I must of missed a post! Sorry to hear you have been having trouble... I have to keep an eye on my sugar levels too (chronically low blood sugar that crashes leaving me in a heap on the floor if Im not careful) as you say its a lifestyle adjustment. But you will get used to it & before you know it it`ll be normal & you wont even think about it anymore.

    Good luck with next weeks jelly making :o)


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