The hit of this summer, when it comes to things to spread on toast in the morning and gobble down with a good strong cup of coffee, was blackcurrant and apple jelly. It was a particularly satisfying thing to make, because not only was it very delicious, but I used blackcurrants that I'd picked myself, for free, from a farm in the Moutere Valley, and windfall apples that I'd found when out on a wee bike ride one day. I wish I could show you a photo of it, but we ate it all up or gave it away as gifts, so I have none left.
However, I did get my jelly stride on again last weekend, and made a batch of old-fashioned grape jelly from the grapes that trail over our garden fence from our neighbour's house. To make old-fashioned grape jelly you pick over the grapes, removing all the sneaky spiders that like to hide on the stalks. Give the sorted grapes a wee wash and then boil them up with a little water, say, 1/2 C to a kilo of grapes, until it's all juicy and pulpy. Simmer for about 40 min or so, then pour into cheesecloth and let the juice drip through. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: For GOODNESS SAKES, don't squeeze the jelly bag. Old people who know about jelly will hit you on your hand for doing that, and they'll berate you about making cloudy jelly.
After all, or at least most, of the juice has dripped through, boil it up with an equal amount of sugar (500 mL juice, 500 g sugar) and some lemon juice or citric acid (1/2 a teaspoon or so) if you have no lemons. Boil until you reach the setting point. You know what a setting point looks like right? If you put a little on a saucer, cool it, and then push your finger through it, it will form wrinkles on the surface. Hey presto! Old-fashioned grape jelly!
I learned to make jelly when I was a teenager, when I should have been hanging out with naughty friends my parents disapproved of, and experimenting with cigarettes. Sigh...so many regrets, so many regrets.
When I'm making jelly I almost always just boil the fruit up, strain it, then add equal quantities of sugar and a little lemon juice to the strained juice. It always works, but if you want to be a true jelly expert then look out for this book: