I made this recipe all the way back in August. Back then it was still fiery hot outside and stepping outside of my apartment meant I was sweating immediately. It was a time when farmer’s markets were filled with gorgeous colorful produce. The kind of produce that I didn’t have to know what it was, I’d buy it because it was pretty. Now it’s the end of October. There’s a chill in the air, autumn is truly here, and it’s gourd season. Two months later, currants probably aren’t in season anymore. Still, I’m going to share this recipe for currant jam anyway.
Like I said, I bought the currants on impulse. I didn’t even know what they tasted like! I thought they looked like gorgeous tiny rubies and I had to have them. I’d figure out the recipe later. Through a little googling, I found a recipe for jam and I thought I’d give it a go.
I’d never made jam before because I’m largely afraid of canning. You need (I think) special equipment that seems both expensive and like a real commitment that I’m not sure I want to make. Also, I’m not trying to feed anyone sugary botulism.
After consulting the internet further and a few friends, I decided one can of jam eaten fairly quickly wouldn’t kill anyone. And look at me, it’s October and I’m still alive. And so is everyone else who tried my jam. Now people might be a little more wary of eating my food. Didn’t realize you were all part of a dangerous science experiment?! Mwahahaha.
Anyway, I was impressed because that one small container of currants filled nearly an entire standard jam jar. Full disclosure, the jar is a pint-sized jar that formerly held Running Byrd Iced Tea. I disinfected the jar by dunking into boiled water and sending the jar good vibes hoping everything would work out. And it did. The jam was delicious. I ate it on toast, English muffins, and I put on buttery thumb print cookies. Mostly it was fun telling everyone I made currant jam. It made me feel impressive.
Adapted from David Lebovitz.
Messy level: I didn’t find this messy so much as mildly terrifying. Everything is so hot, and sticky, and I just didn’t know if it was going to go right. Also, there’s pouring. Pouring things leads to potential mess and no one’s trying to get molten jam spilled on their toes. So my advice, just be careful!
- Red currants
- Wash the currants and put them in a large pot. Put them in stems and all. I read the stems help the jam set (For the 1 pint of currants I used my 3 quart sauce pan)
- Add enough water so that it covers the bottom of the pan. (I added enough so the bottoms of the currants were wet)
- Heat the currants on medium heat. Stir frequently and cook until they are softened and wilted. This can take 10 minutes or more.
- Once cooked, pull out the currants by their stems. (It's good to wear gloves). Use tongs and slide them along the stems to pop off the currant berries into a bowl. (If you have a food mill that might be an easier way, but this was my low budget option).
- If you don't have a food mill, use an immersion blender to make a puree. Alternatively, you can also use a blender or food processor to do this.
- Weigh the puree. (Hint: it sounds obvious but I often forget, put the bowl on your scale first, press tare, then add the puree. Don't weigh the bowl!)
- For each pound/kilo/grams of puree, add that amount of sugar to your pot. Add the currants back to the pot as well.
- Stir the puree and the sugar in the pot. Heat over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, stop stirring and bring it to a roiling boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes and don't touch it!
- Turn off the heat and skim off any of the foamy looking stuff at the top.
- Carefully pour or spoon the jam into a clean jar. Close tightly. Turn the jars upside down and let cool completely.
- To test if the finish jam will hold, put a small spoonful of jam on a chilled plate. Put the plate in the fridge for a few minutes. Take it out and poke it. If it wrinkles when nudged then it's ready.