Last year and this year I planted a bunch of  different kinds of berries.

Of the ones I planted last year I am getting some berries this year. Blackberries and elderberries will be a lot of them, but not here yet. I planted some raspberries in the fall and got a handful from a few of them. I got a handful of blueberries. I got three jostaberries which were good and I look forward to them.  The chokeberry bush has a bunch on  it but not ready yet.

What I did get a quart of was black currants. I can see that when fully producing it is going to be a very abundant bush.  I didn’t pick them right away though. I had picked one and tasted it and it was terrible. I waited, thinking they might not be ripe even though the color had changed.  After a week, one of our neighbors was visiting so I was showing her the currant bush.  We both tasted one and she spit hers out it was so bad.

Googling, I found out black currants are not for fresh eating, though apparently the pink ones are, of which I also planted one, not bearing this year.  They are used for jam and as flavoring for sauces.  Many Americans have never even heard of them and for a long time cultivation of black currants was illegal because it is an alternate host for white pine rust. New York has only recently legalized their cultivation.

In Europe they are more popular.

I got a recipe I adapted proportionately to my quantity. It was as follows:

Black Currant Jam recipe

4 pounds black currants

3 pints water

6 pounds sugar

Add water to currants and cook until they break down and volume is reduced by 1/3.

Add sugar and cook for ten minutes or until the jam sets on a cold sheet.

What gives black currants the bad taste is they are very sour, but that sourness is an advantage when making jam because you don’t need to add any pectin, it sets easily by itself.

Result? Really great jam! The flavor is incredible. I took some to my neighbor who had spit out the raw berry and she could hardly believe it was the same fruit the jam was so good.

I might play with using less sugar because it is almost too sweet, but next year with the new growth I see on the black currant bush, the harvest will be lots more and lots of jam will be forthcoming.

I am guessing that for the chokeberries there will be a similar scenario when they ripen.

Advertisements