Before I can even begin to regale you with stories about how spectacular this jam is, I need to make one thing perfectly clear: No, I was not born yesterday, and, yes, I totally realize currants are no longer in season and that for many — if not all of you — the fact that I am posting a recipe for something you’ll have to wait til next year to make, is confusing, if not annoying. So, apologies in advance, but here’s the thing: I’m basically obsessed with this jam. Yes, I eat it straight out of the jar, by the spoonful, double dipping on occasion, with a side of peanut butter, if you must know. And because I have pounds of frozen currants in my freezer, I’ve been making kind of a lot of it, which is, of course, contributing to the difficulty I’m having containing my excitement. I just can’t wait til next year to write about all this deliciousness. I’ve got to tell you now.
I love this jam for a lot of reasons. I love how tart it is. I love how sweet it it. I love it’s deep currant-y flavor and color. And I love (almost more than anything else) how easy it is to make. Truth be told, not only is this the first time I have ever made jam, but it is the first time i have ever even wanted to make jam. I’m just not the canning, jarring and pickling type. (I assuming this is not coming as a shock to any of you who have spent even an iota of time on this site.) Bottom line: I’d rather put my berries in a pie — preferably a fried one that fits in your hand, than make jam. But the copious amount of currants that ended up in my freezer last month got me thinking, uncharacteristically, about jam.
You only need two ingredients to make red currant jam (sugar and currants — Martha Stewart does add lemon, and David Lebovitz adds water, but neither is necessary), you don’t need pectin (or any other gelling agent), you do need a food mill (although you could puree the cooked currants in the blender and then strain them in a sieve), sterilizing jars, etc., is unnecessary, and the whole process takes almost no time. Bottom line. End of story. That’s it. And I have to say the magic/science that takes place when something downright drinkable (ie: the cooked currant/sugar puree) becomes downright spoonable, is pretty special. I see lots of currant jam making in my future and yours too — if you can just be patient, as your future, sadly, looks an awful lot like next summer. Apologies, again, for that.
Red Currant Jam
- 4 pounds red currants de-stemmed (frozen is fine)
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- Place the currants in large heavy-duty pot on the stove over high heat and stir frequently until the currants soften and collapse.
- Let them cool slightly, and add the currants to a food mill, grinding them into a slightly smaller pot (or the same one you used to cook the currants, once cleaned).
- Add the sugar to the milled currants and stir. Place the pot on the stove over medium high heat, until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to high, bring the mixture to a boil, and boil the currants and sugar for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, checking to make sure the mixture does not burn.
- Pour the boiled currants into clean jars, place lids on them, and turn the jars upside down on the counter (this seals the jars) until the jam has cooled to room temp. Then place the jars, still upside down, in the fridge until cold and solid.
- Whisk the jam with a fork — still in the jar — prior to serving.