Yesterday was garden day at the Mustard Seed House. We finally got all the hoops up round the tomatoes, laid the last of the irrigation hoses and weeded furiously. We also picked the black currants. These are rather tart berries that are not good for fresh eating but they make the most wonderful jam I have ever tasted. Recently we have also developed a craving for black currant syrup on ice cream.
When Tom and I were married he had never tasted black currant jam so on our first trip together to Britain I made sure that he got a taste. He liked it so much that we immediately came home and bought 2 black currant bushes. Black currants have 5 times the vitamin C content of oranges and are very high in anitoxidants. However they are not well known in the US currants primarily because they are suseptible to white pine blister rust and for tis reason were banned for growing in North America until fairly recently when resistant varieties were developed. They are still not available in some states though fortunately we can get them here in the Pacific Northwest.
Here is my basic jam recipe
To every 500 gm (1lb) of prepared fruit add 600 ml of water and 750 gm sugar. Bring water and fruit to boil slowly to avoid burning. Boil for at least 45 minutes. Add sugar and boil rapidly for another 10 minutes. Instead of skimming jam, stir in a piece of butter the size of a walnut when the jam is cooked. Add pectin according to instructions. To test jam, put a little on a suacer and place in freezer to cool. A skin should form on top if the jam is ready. If using frozen fruit ensure that no extra water is added when it thaws other than the 600 ml. Pack in sterilized jars and process in a water bath for 20 minutes.