13 Aug Black Currant Jam
When I was very little, I thought my mother knew everything. Absolutely everything. If I had a question, she had an answer. If I had a problem, she had a solution. She cured my near-fatal bout of the mumps with teeny-tiny vanilla cupcakes. She could find any
confiscated lost article within minutes. And, she was definitely psychic. How else could she have predicted me breaking her crystal liqueur glasses when I was whirling about our tiny living room like a wind-up toy on fast forward?
Knowing this, it’s hard to believe my mother — this brilliant, practical, life-seasoned woman — spent an hour picking stems from a quart of black currants. She diligently plucked and sorted and trimmed their tiny little beards before popping them in the freezer so I could make jam for the Thanksgiving dinner peaches. This was kind, and generous and a labour of love. It was also a complete waste of time. You see, while I am perfectly willing to spend a good 20 minutes popping Concord grapes from their skins for pie, or sherbet, or sorbet or jam, I’m not about to invest an hour in black currants when I have a trick up my sleeve.
See all those teeny, tiny stems? They require a surgeon’s touch and magnifying glasses to remove.
I have neither the skill nor the patience for such things. I do, however, have a fine-mesh sieve and a sturdy ladle. And currants. Plenty of tart, tiny black currants. And a plan.
- 4 cups black currants
- 3 cups water
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- In a large, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pan, place the black currants and water over high heat. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the currants are soft and have burst open. Place a fine mesh sieve over a non-reactive, heat-proof bowl (glass or stainless steel are perfect for this) and press the fruit through the sieve using the back of a ladle. Discard the stems and seeds.
- Return the currant pulp to the jam pot, add the sugar slowly and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to bring fruit to a full boil, reduce the heat, and continue to cook the fruit at a gentle boil. Stir occasionally, skimming off any foam, until the jam is set, about 20 to 25 minutes. Click here for details on how to tell when jam is set.
- Ladle into warm, sterlized jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe rims clean. Place lids on the jars and secure bands until finger-tip tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let jars sit for another 5 minutes. Using canning tongs, remove the jars and place of a heatproof surface where they won't be disturbed for 24 hours. Check to ensure the lids have properly sealed. Refrigerate any jars that didn’t seal (this has never happened to me, yet) and use within 3 weeks. Properly sealed jars will keep for a good year.