Currant jam is a traditional British dessert that has been enjoyed for centuries. It’s made from a mixture of red currants, sugar and lemon juice. It’s a sweet and tangy jam that can be used for various purposes, from spreading on bread or toast to serving with roast lamb.
The key to making a good red currant jam is to ensure that the fruit is fully cooked and has been passed through a food mill, discarding any stems and seeds. This will make a smoother jam with fewer chunks and give the flavour more body.
Preparation and Cooking
Start by washing the red currants. Rinse them thoroughly under running water, then place in a large pot with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Once the berries have softened and become wilted, add the sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
When the berries are completely cooked and a smooth puree has formed, pass them through a food mill again, discarding any stems and seeds that remain. Weight the puree with a scale so you’ll have the right amount of fruit for your recipe.
If you’ve got lots of currants, you can cook the fruit in small batches to save time. This is also an easy way to get more bang for your buck, especially if you have the luxury of growing your own currants.
It’s a great way to use up extra currants that you haven’t been able to finish using up, but it’s also a nice way to preserve them for later. If you’ve got more than a few pounds of red currants, the jam will keep in your freezer for up to a year, and it’ll taste even better.
You’ll need about a pound of fresh red currants for this recipe. If you’re short of fruit, it is possible to substitute with frozen berries, but the quality will be affected.
A sprig of fresh rosemary can be added at the same time as the sugar and lemon juice to enhance the flavour of the jam. It’s a simple, yet effective, addition that will be enjoyed by all the family.
The recipe below is a small batch, but if you’re looking to make a larger quantity of jam and jellies, double the recipe. This will help you reduce cooking times and ensure that all the currants are cooked evenly.
Stemming and Strain
Traditionally, currant jam is made from red currants that have been hand-stemmed. However, this can be an annoying task if you’re not experienced at it, so you may want to consider using a fruit stemmer instead.
This process removes the stems, which will be bitter and astringent, from the fruit while also ensuring that the jam will be smooth. Once the stems have been removed, you can squish the currants through a fine mesh sieve before adding to your jars.
Sealing the jars is important to ensure that the jam will be safe to store for longer. You can use your jam immediately, but if you’re planning on storing it for a long time, you should seal the jars as soon as possible.