Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jam Session

It has decided to become hot again, and all my berries are rushing toward ripeness--a full two weeks ahead of schedule!  My sad little strawberry patch, which needs a good thinning and quack-grass-removal-session, yielded three quarts of berries.  They were very small, but incredibly sweet, and I've frozen about half for devouring later in the year when strawberries are nowhere to be found.  I saved back a quart and made a batch of Strawberry Lime Jam:

Six little jars, all in a row.  Lovely, aren't they?  The lime part of the recipe comes from homemade lime "mush", involving two days of cooking & 24 hour rest periods, ten organic limes, and conspicuous use of a vegetable peeler and sharp knives.  All that yields about a quart of bright green deliciousness that can be combined with fruits to make marmalades and exotic jams.  My initial taste test of this little number is rated WOWZA.  (That's a tingly top mark in this house.)

This year has been a bumper year for my fledgling currant patch.  I planted one Red Lake currant bush a few years ago, and three Pink Currant bushes last year.  This year, after stripping all the bushes, I had a whole quart of teeny tiny round berries.  That may not seem like much, but last year I think I gathered about a half of a cup.  This was a significant increase!  I had just enough to simmer down into a rich, ruby sauce--a whirl through my favorite kitchen tool, the food mill, took care of all the skins and teensie seeds, leaving me with thick pulp to make into Red Currant Jam.

Aren't they pretty?  Currants are one of my most favorite berries, sweet and tart and tangy, all at once.  They make a fantastic jam, equally good spread on a muffin or sweet quick bread as it is on the side of a plate of roasted pork and potatoes.  Jam is one of those condiments that has been relegated to partnership with peanut butter, but it is much more versatile than in a basic sandwich.  I love putting the sweetness of a good jam with a good bit of beef with country bread, or roast chicken with vegetables, or smeared in a grilled goat cheese and arugula sandwich.  Mmmmm-hmmm-good!


  1. I want some currants too! They have been on my list of wants for awhile! You need one of my onion jams-they are sweet, spicy and awesome on meat, or cream cheese and crackers and I had some on home made bread today!

    1. Currants are super easy to grow, and seem to love the climate up here. It takes them a bit to get established, but a friend of mine has a giant 20 year old bush that gets loaded every year, it is inspiring. And yes, please, to one of your onion jams!


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