Very often I am drawn to the unusual. Although its name is not unfamiliar to most Americans the black currant is not a common staple in the general US population's pantry. Even more so it is absent from their gardens. As par usual with me, not in with the mainstream...where do I sign up?! It was little over three years ago when I sent away for 3 Crandall black currant whips from St. Lawrence Nursery in New York. Come spring 3 little sticks arrived that I popped int the ground hoping for the best. Fast forward those three years and presto, a whopping 5 pound crop of berries!
What better thing to do with my fruitful abundance than to make jam! Drawing from several websites and my jam bible The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook I found that it is pretty much all about keeping the sugar to berry ratio equal. If you are rolling in the black currants I highly recommend trying this. I have reduced the quantities to make it more applicable for the home cook.
As always enjoy!
Black Currant Jam with Black Peppercorns and Rosemary (adapted from Blue Chair Jam Cookbook)
2.5 lbs. stemmed black currants
2.5 lbs. sugar
2.5 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3" sprig of rosemary
Pick all the stalks from the black currants. Place the fruit in a saucepan and cover with about 30 fl oz. of water and bring to a boil.
Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the skins of the currants are very tender and there is about a 1/4 of the liquid you began with remaining.
Add the sugar and lemon juice and return to a boil stirring frequently to prevent scorching the sugar. Boil for about 5-10 minutes and begin to do a spoon test in the freezer to check for doneness.
When the jam is to your desired consistency remove the pan from the heat and add several cracks of freshly ground black pepper and the rosemary sprig.
Leave to steep for 5 to 10 minutes then pour into hot, clean jars and seal immediately. REMEMBER TO REMOVE THE ROSEMARY!!! Place in a hot water bath according to your general jam processing protocol.