Alana and I made this red currant jam together (thanks Alana for taking all of the photos too!). We got these red currants in our CSA. If you haven't had them before, they are juicy, really tart and have a little seed:
We adapted a recipe from David Lebovitz by using jaggery, Indian cane sugar, in place of white sugar:
This recipe also calls for kirsch, a clear fruit liqueur originally from Germany but also made in France and other parts of Europe. By chance, Alana & Paul had just introduced me to it recently. Paul's mother, Brigitte, is from an Alsacian town that has very special a kirsch distillery so it was really exciting to try some of what they brought back from France. Unlike other fruity liqueurs, kirsch is light and actually tastes just like the fruit. But don't be fooled because it's really alcoholic:)
In France, kirsch is called eau-de-vie or water of life. I've started calling it fire water;) The traditional variety is black cherry but there are a myriad of different flavors - I really liked the pear one they had brought back too. It's usually taken after a meal and not mixed with anything. There are also these cute little cups that you drink the kirsch from. If you ever come across this brand of kirsch, buy it. It's so good!
The jaggery brings a really natural sweetness to the jam and the kirsch is a nice way to draw out the flavor of the fruit. This was my first time making jam and it is way easier than I thought it was going to be so I hope you give it a try too:)
Red Currant Jam, adapted from David Lebovitz
1 measure red currants
3/4 measure jaggery
Optional: a shot of kirsch
1. Rinse the red currants and put them in a large pot. Add enough water just so that it covers the bottom of the pot.
2. Cook the red currants, stirring frequently, until they’re soft and wilted. Once cooked, pass them through a food mill, discarding the stems and seeds left behind (don't have a food mill so just pressed through a strainer and actually kept the seeds in the jam).
3. Weigh the puree. For each pound, add 3/4 amount jaggery to the pot.
4. Mix the puree and the jaggery in the pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring until the jaggery is completely dissolved.
5. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, let it boil for five minutes undisturbed.
6. After five minutes, add a shot of kirsch and turn off the heat skim off any scum.
7. Ladle the jam into clean jars up to the top and screw on the lids firmly. Turn the jars upside down and let cool completely.