Saturday, 3 July 2010

Strawberry - Currant Jam

This is getting posted rather late in the strawberry season, but that's when you need to make this jam. The period of time when both strawberries and currants/gooseberries are available is fairly short: a week; two at the most. I make other jams with berries plus currants, but the overlap in availability is much better with raspberries, cherries and blueberries.

I've never had any success using commercial pectins. It's my own fault; I simply won't put in the amount of sugar required. I figure the whole point of making home-made jam is to be able to make them with much less sugar. The currents (or gooseberries) contain enough pectin to allow the jam to set even though it calls for less sugar than most jam recipes. Also, if you have bunch of lemon seeds from the lemon juice, put them in a tea-ball and add them to the jam as it cooks, pulling them out when you are done. They will supply extra pectin. You can do that with any of jam recipes. This is the only strawberry jam recipe I make that actually sets properly, and the currents (or gooseberries) add a very nice flavour to them.

I've made these with both of the currents and the gooseberries at different times, and they all work out nicely. I wouldn't use black currents which I think would be too strongly flavoured for the strawberries (but I could be wrong; maybe I'll have to try that combo one of these years just to check it out.)

7 250-ml jars
40 minutes prep time

Strawberry Currant Jam
1 quart (4 cups) red or white currants, or gooseberries
1/4 cup water

2 quarts strawberries
4 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Put the jars into the canner, and cover them with water by at least an inch. Bring them to a boil, and boil them for 10 minutes.

Wash and drain the currants and put them with the water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and boil, stirring gently, until they are all popped, about 5 minutes. Press them through a sieve, and reserve the puree. Discard the skins, stems and seeds.

Gently rinse the strawberries and drain them well. Mash them in a large canning kettle or pot; a potato masher does the trick nicely. Mix the currant puree, sugar and lemon juice into them.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Boil hard until the mixture reaches the gell stage, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent it from scorching. Remove from the heat and skim off any stubborn foam. Fill the sterilized jars and seal with lids prepared according to the manufacturer's instructions; generally boiled for 5 minutes. Return the jars to the boiling water in the canner for 5 minutes.

Let cool, check that the jars have sealed, label, and keep in a cool, dark place until opened, when they go into the refrigerator.


CallieK said...

I can all kinds of things but I usually skip strawberries because I adore them fresh and find all jams too sweet. I broke my own rule and made a pectin free balsamic and black pepper strawberry jam this week because a friend I trust raved about it. I was thinking that I might enjoy it but it's still way too sweet and mine didn't set at all. I'll have to try your version some time to see if makes a difference1

Free to be me: Danielle said...

The past couple of years, I've had such a horrible time getting my strawberry jams to the proper consistency (meaning: not runny!)... but this year, I purchased "Pomona's Universal Pectin" because it "Jells with low amounts of any sweetener." AND, it works really really well. For the first time, I can get the jam out of the jar with a knife instead of a spoon ;) It's quite amazing!

While I'm not sure if you can get it in Ontario... I can definitely say that it's worth checking into:

Tiffany said...

I wish I had this a week ago when I made my strawberry currant jam. Mine didn't turn out the first time around (used a commercial pectin) so followed the instructions on the pectin pack to try getting it to set a second time. It still seems kind of runny, even though I know I had enough fruit, sugar and lemon juice. Fortunately, my currant jelly workd.

Lindsay said...

Hi! Thank you so much for the comment on my blog and especially for the wonderful recipe! I'm thrilled to find a recipe that uses 1/2 the sugar that is usually called for and that jelled beautifully without added pectin! Those currant bushes belong to a dear friend of mine who passed away last summer. Those bushes were her pride and joy and I just love picking there. I remember all of the fun we had picking berries together all over the place! One day, when my house is built and I have a backyard, I'm going to get some cuttings from her bushes and plant them around my house! Good luck with your pruning!