One of the fruits in our perennial food yard is Black Currants. All the berries are coming in all at once here, and it gets pretty intimidating.
Fortunately, my friend Becky informed me that if you wait until they're all ripe, you can cut the branches that hold the currants, because they grow on new growth next year. That way, I can cut the whole thing and harvest it all at once. Comfortably, instead of doing what I call "Berry Yoga" which involves stretching and squatting in the hot, hot sun.
That gets one of the berries out of the way in one fell swoop. The gooseberries, blueberries, and raspberries are all out there right this minute, giving me a guilt complex.
I decided to make jam with the currants this year. I've got lots of cordials and tincture, and gave some away, but it was time to use them for food. Next year will be hard candy.
I looked up a lot of different recipes, combined them all, and came up with this:
BLACK CURRANT JAM
1 quart of currants (conveniently exactly what I had)
1.5 C water
3.5 C sugar
2 T lemon juice
~Heat the berries and water to a boil in a 3 quart saucepan. Allow them to simmer for several minutes to get the currants soft and get the juices running.
~Once they've softened, add the sugar and lemon juice, and stir well to be sure the sugar is dissolved.
~Continue heating at a good simmer until the mixture reaches 220 degrees.
Note: A friend stopped by while I was in the final simmer stage, so mine simmered a good 20 minutes - longer than necessary - but it turned out great.
I didn't process the jam because we'll be using it within a few months and it will keep well in the fridge. If you want to, this has a high acid content, so it will do well in a water bath.
The currant jam is a delicious, distinctive, and somewhat strongly flavored spread. I'm imagining the small portions in the freezer will be used for recipes (both sweet and savory) over the coming year.