We spend a good amount of time during the summer on preparations to help us get through the winter months.
Preserving, canning, and freezing the bounty of the garden not only helps utilize the sudden influx of berries that all appear at once or the dozens of tomatoes that ripen at the same time, but makes winter more tolerable down the road.
When you’re in the midst of a long cold winter, like we get here in North Dakota, one thing that helps me cope is to have just the smallest taste of summer.
For my money there’s nothing better than the flavor of summer raspberries and currants captured at their mid-summer peak. It sure helps stave off those winter blues.
Raspberry currant jam is simultaneously, sweet and tart and tangy, and both raspberries and currants are nutritionally dynamic foods that should be a part of a properly balanced diet. This simple jam recipe will ensure that you have the fresh picked flavor of summer berries at your fingertips all year long.
You may not be familiar with currants: they’re a small globe-shaped red or black berry about the size of a small blueberry. Adding currants to a jam recipe means that you shouldn't need to add any additional pectin (depending on the recipe) to get the jam to set properly.
Currants are chock full of natural pectin and the jam will set magnificently with no added pectin, just the naturally occurring amount in the currants.
Currants also contain high levels of Vitamin C (four times more than oranges), are rich in anti-oxidants, and add a great tart flavor to compliment the raspberries. And if it’s an issue for you, this is also a great way to ward off scurvy.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for raspberry currant jam:
- 4 cups red or black currants
- 1/3 cup water
- 6 cups red or black raspberries
- 3 cups granulated sugar
It doesn't matter what color of currants or raspberries you choose for the recipe, though admittedly, the combination of both red currants and raspberries, or black currants and raspberries does look especially visually striking in the jar as a finished product. Whatever color of berry you choose to use it will still taste great.
- Wash currants well (you don't need to de-stem) and place in sauce pan with the 1/3 cup water.
- Stirring slowly and frequently, bring the mixture to a boil.
- Press through chinois or other strainer to get just currant juice and pulp, leaving the skins and stems behind.
- Add the currant juice/pulp, raspberries and sugar to a large stock pot.
- Stirring continuously, slowly bring the mixture to a boil.
- Keep at a full rolling boil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the jam reaches the gel stage. You’ll see it start to noticeably thicken in consistency.
- Remove from the heat and ladle into sterilized canning jars.
- Seal jars and boil in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
- Remove from water bath and allow to return to room temperature.
This recipe can take just an hour to an hour and half to complete, it's pretty simple. In no time at all you can have jars of deep, richly red colored raspberry currant jam.
There's no better way to alleviate those winter blues than by cracking open a jar of tasty raspberry currant jam to add to your favorite bread, scone or peanut butter and jelly sandwich.