Last year we planted two currant bushes in our yard, red currant and black currant. The red currant didn’t take off so well, it had just a few very tiny berries (get out the magnifying glass), I’m hoping it will produce more next year, but the black currant bush has been producing reasonably well. I’ve been picking and storing them in the fridge over the past couple of weeks and wasn’t sure if it would amount to much at all. But as it turns our you can make a quick jam with just a couple handfuls of berries. I always think of making jam as a big ordeal, with pounds of fruit and jelly jars lined up, ready to be plunged into a hot bath. But really you can quickly make one small jar of jam. And it turned out delicious. Well that was after it didn’t turn out right and I had to reheat it. The recipe called for 10 minutes of cooking the berries, which wasn’t quite enough time, I’ll note in the recipe 10-30 minutes of cook time. And the recipe recommended cooking the berries with sugar until the jam reaches 220°F for the jelling point, but in my case it was cooked far too long, so what I initially ended up with was tough berries in a solid mass of jam. So I put the whole business back on the stove and added more lemon juice and water, and let it cook for 20 minutes. And this did it. It tastes amazing. I think more lemon juice helped it as well.
Oh, and Saveur magazine is hosting a food blog awards, I would love to be nominated for the “Best Photography” category, you can nominate me here if you like, it’s open until July 18th, so just 3 days left. Thanks :)
Black Currant Jam
- 2 cups (250g) fresh black currants (stemmed)
- ¾ cup (180ml) water (you might want to add more water for longer cook time)
- 1 ¼ (250g) cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (I would use 1/2 squeezed lemon)
In a nonreactive pot, bring the black currants and the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 10-30 minutes, until the black currants are softened.
Add the sugar and the lemon juice and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the jam reaches the jelling point.
If using a thermometer, it should read about 220ºF (104ºC). (I cooked until 220° and it was way over cooked as I mentioned above)
David Lebovitz recommends:
– Or if you want to do the freezer test, put a small plate in the freezer. When the jam looks thickened, turn off the heat and put a teaspoon of the jam on the plate and stick it back in the freezer for about 5 minutes. When you take it out, it’s done if you nudge your finger into it and it holds its shape. If not, continue cooking it, and retesting the jam, until it’s the right consistency.
When ready, scrape into clean jars, cover and cool. The jam will stay fresh refrigerated for a couple months.
Adapted from David Lebovitz