Currants are like little gems growing on a bush. When you get past the seeds there is such an indescribable burst of flavor that is both sweet and tart. Every year I try to make a jar of jelly using the berries from this bush. Last year and the year before that was all I got, one precious jar of jelly. I was experimenting with just how much pectin to use and it kept coming out way to thick. This year though I came across some information suggesting that they really don’t need any added pectin as they have enough on their own and that information has proven to be true. All you need are currants, sugar and a little time. Here is the recipe I ended up using from David Lebovitz blog. He suggests adding a shot of Kirsch, but since I didn’t have any on hand I skipped that part and it is still very tasty jam (actually more like a jelly). The trick for me was getting quantities right since I was making such a small amount. I ended up getting almost 3 jars from this years batch.
1. Rinse currants and put them in a large pot. You can leave the little stems intact because they well come out with the seeds later. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. I mashed my berries up a little with a potato masher to get some juices flowing.
2. Cook the red currants, stirring frequently, until they are soft and wilted. I then put the whole batch in a food mill and let the juices run for a while, I was baking a cake too so I let it sit while I whipped that up and got it in the oven. Then I very slowly pressed the juices out and the reason for doing is slowly is that it doesn’t get cloudy that way. Other recipes suggest letting it stand over night in a jelly bag or piece of muslin and let it drain the juice out on its own. I was impatient and this way worked very well.
3. I measured how much juice I had in a measuring cup and matched this quantity in sugar. You could maybe go a bit less, but since I wasn’t using pectin I didn’t want to take a chance that it wouldn’t thicken.
4. Mix the puree and sugar in the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
5. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, let it boil for 5 minutes undisturbed. You will see a film developing on the top, don’t worry it will skim off later.
6. After 5 minutes you may want to do the nudge test. I put a small plate in the fridge before I start cooking for this purpose. Drop a little of jam on the cold plate and wait a bit (or re-chill it), if it wrinkles when it is nudged then it is ready if it stays too liquid you may want to cook it a bit longer. 5 minutes was plenty of time for mine though. Skim the scum off the top, I enjoy spreading this on bread immediately so I can have a taste.
7. Ladle into clean hot jars to the top. David turns the jars upside down which will sometimes be enough to seal them. If I had a bigger batch I would have put them in a hot bath now, but since the batch is small and will be gone soon I will just store it in the fridge to enjoy ASAP.
My next big harvest is zucchini, I have some shredded and soaking in salt to turn into zucchini relish tomorrow. I’ll be sharing that recipe soon hopefully. We just used the last jar we had left from last year so it is just in time!
Keep Harvesting and sharing~