Wednesday, July 9, 2014

When Life Gives You Red Currants, You Make Red Currant Jam

I don't want to jinx it by saying it, but this Spring and Summer has been perfect. Not for five years at least have things bloomed in such profusion, or fruited in such abundance. Everything but the gooseberries, that is. I'm afraid the gooseberries had more of a set back by the rabbits eating them then the currants did. Anyway, the currants! I've picked pounds and pounds! Every few days I will go out and pick another three or four pounds. I had about ten pounds in my refrigerator, another four pounds frozen in the freezer, and at least five pounds that have been given away. 

And there are still more on the branches!

I think I need to work on pruning as it seems they are ripening at different speeds. The ones the sun can reach the easiest naturally ripen first, while the ones on the bottoms of the shrubs plump up and turn red about two weeks later. This does allow for a prolonged harvest, however, so maybe I should just leave it as it is.

So what do you do when you have ten pounds of currants taking up way too much space in your fridge? Jam. Currents have a naturally high pectin content so you don't need anything except a pot, a food mill (or I suppose you could squeeze them through a piece of cheesecloth or try to push them through a fine mesh sieve), currents, and sugar. This recipe is perfect (although I would agree about using a little less sugar) and the blog itself is amazing!

Make sure you listen to Edith Piaf while making the jam.

Gah! I just love this! Like a copper pot full of rubies!

The currants quickly begin cooking down. Because I was going to use a food mill I could simply wash the berries and leave them on the stems.

My Grandfather made this wooden potato masher.

Using it to smash down the berries made me feel very "Old French Farmhouse".
My tiny apartment stove always makes me feel French. Ignore the splatters of currant juice.

Into the food mill the mixture goes. After all of the puree is through (and the seeds and stems are left behind) you need to weigh the puree.

I did this by first weighing the pot empty, and subtracting that from the filled pot.

It was about 2 1/4 pounds. I stopped at 2 pounds of sugar. I could have used less.

Mix the sugar and the puree, place on high heat, and bring to a boil.

Boil for five minutes. No stirring. Then turn it off. I used a slotted spoon to get the foam off, and then ladled into the containers.

The jam really began to thicken up before I was done filling the jars.

I wasn't going to process anything, so I used little reusable Ball containers to give away to my family.

Really good. Really tasty. I might experiment next with a current and onion chutney. Stay tuned...