Red Currant Jelly Substitute – 5 Simple Flavorful Swaps

Looking for a red currant jelly substitute?  If so, we’ve got in this article 5 worthy alternatives that you can use.

Missing out on red currant jelly especially when you have roasted game meat like venison or other roasted meat is a big miss. Currant jelly or sauce is part and parcel of several summer dishes in the UK. This jelly with natural pectin content is a perfect addition to several dishes. The sweet tangy taste of red currant jelly is wonderful on toast, as a sauce to be served with roasted lamb and game, or stirred into gravies.

Best Red Currant Jelly Substitute

Currants are seasonal berries harvested for a short period in the summer. Thus the making and easy availability of fresh currant jelly is limited to a few months in a year. This jelly isn’t even available in most parts of the world except in the UK and some parts of Europe. Often you’ll have to depend on a currant substitute if a recipe calls for it. Also, some would love to try something else in place of red currant jelly just for the sake of a change of taste. If you want to use something instead of currant jelly, here 6 alternatives worth considering.

1. Grape Jelly

Undoubtedly, grape jelly is the best red currant jelly substitute because they have a similar appearance and taste. These two jellies are often used interchangeably in the same dishes. To your advantage, grape jelly is more versatile than currant jelly and easily available around the year in groceries.

The most commonly used standard variety of grape jelly is made with concord grapes. Also, there is another less common variety of grape jelly made with muscadine grapes with tough skins.  Either of these grape jellies is good enough to replace currant jelly.

Importantly, as grapes are available in most parts of the year, it’s easy to prepare homemade grape jelly unlike red currants, which are available only in summer.

2. Apple Jelly

After grape jelly, the next best alternative to currant jelly is apple jelly which has similar characteristics and uses. This jelly works great on roast chicken, lamb, pork, and cheese. Also, apple jelly is often used as a filling or spread on bread, cakes, pastry, or pie.

Unlike the red currants, apple is readily available in fruit stalls throughout the year and it’s much easier to make apple jelly at home. Every grocery has apple jellies on sale around the year and is comparatively cheaper than red currant jelly.

3. Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce or cranberry jam is a sauce or relish made out of cranberries. In the US, it’s necessarily served as a condiment or a side dish with Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. In fact, cranberry sauce is considered to be an American equivalent of the UK’s red currant jelly.

Cranberry sauce is sweet and tart like red currant jelly and has a jelly-like consistency. It can be used in most dishes that call for red currant jelly and is usable in similar ways.

4. Dried Fruits

Another manageable alternative for red currant jelly is tart and sweet dried fruits. Dried fruits aren’t a perfect option, yet usable as toppings on cake, pudding, or pastry. Try using dried cherry, raisins, dried apricot, or dried blueberries for they are tangy and sweet like currants. Slice the dried fruits in tiny bits to make them fit into the texture of your dish.

However, most people won’t enjoy a combination of dried fruits and roast meat.

5. Other Alternatives

Black currant jelly or jam is another substitute for red currant jelly though they differ in color and taste. The black currants are mildly tart and sweet and are mostly used in baking or making jam.

Another substitution for fresh currants is frozen currants. Fresh red currants are available for weeks only and in most places, you won’t even have them. For making currant jelly, try using frozen red currants instead of fresh berries.  Just defrost the berries until they turn soft and continue with jelly-making as you do with the fresh berries.

FInal Thoughts

In conclusion, while red currant jelly has a unique flavor and is seasonal, there are several substitutes available year-round. Grape jelly, with its similar taste and appearance, stands as the best alternative, followed by versatile apple jelly.

Cranberry sauce offers a similar tartness and is a common replacement in the US. Dried fruits like cherries, apricots, or raisins can be used as toppings, though they may not suit meat dishes.

Black currant jelly and frozen currants provide other options, with black currant offering a different taste profile and frozen currants enabling jelly-making outside the fresh fruit season.

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