Mary's Veggie Garden

July 6, 2015

7/6/2015 Currant Events

Filed under: Currants,Fruit — marysveggiegarden @ 10:08 pm

My 4-year old currant bushes set a great crop this year. Last week I was able to harvest enough berries to make currant jam!

Currant jam - mostly Pink Champagne with a few Rovada for color.

Currant jam – mostly Pink Champagne with a few Rovada for color. The jars are cloudy because they are cold, removed from the refrigerator immediately before the photography.

I have five currant bushes. The varieties “Blanka” and “Rovada” were both good-sized bushes when I transplanted them from another location in 2012. I also have three “Pink Champagne” bushes, which I got by rooting branch cuttings in the spring of 2012.

My biggest Pink Champagne bush started ripening berries in early June. They were tart, with a hint of sweetness.  A month later the berries are much sweeter but with a tartness that keeps them interesting. I harvest a handful whenever I’m in the garden. Unfortunately the squirrels are getting interested in the Pink Champagne berries so last Thursday I harvested most of the berries – leaving only a few that were not yet ripe.

I filled a colander with the harvest – a bit over two pounds. I added a handful of red Rovada berries for color. Although deep red, the Rovada berries are still under ripe. I made jam using these two recipes as a basis:  http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2011/06/red-currant-jam-recipe/ and http://foodpreservation.about.com/od/Preserves/r/Red-Currant-Jelly-Recipe.htm and following these directions for jelling:  http://foodpreservation.about.com/od/Preserves/ss/How-To-Test-Jellies-For-The-Jell-Point-A-Step-By-Step-Guide.htm#step1.

My Recipe:

I removed the berries from their trusses and rinsed in several changes of water. I added the berries and .5 c. water to a stainless steel Dutch oven and cooked until the berries released their juice, using a potato masher to smash the berries.

I used an ancient Foley food mill to remove the seeds – removing 10 ounces of seed & skin from the 2 pounds of berries. I ran the juice through the food mill a second time and captured a few more seeds.

Returning the juice to the pot, I added 1.6 c. sugar, then boiled the mix until it jelled. That took at least 20 minutes. The yield was about 2 cups of jam. I didn’t can it, because we are using it right away.

This was my first time making jam, and I boiled it a bit too long. The resulting jam is much stiffer than commercial jam but it can be mashed with a fork. The flavor is intensely fruity, sweet, and tart all at once.  We are eating it on our pancakes instead of syrup.

If I do this again I would start cooking the berries very slowly, with little or no water and add less sugar, maybe only 1 cup.  I would also try for a softer jam. This was my first try and I preferred to err on the side of extra-firm jam, rather than a syrup.

Current Comparison

Currants compared:  red Rovada, Pink Champagne and yellow Blanka.

Currants compared: red Rovada, Pink Champagne and pale yellow Blanka. Some berries split as I pulled them.

Pink Champagne – smallest berry, best flavor, biggest seeds. Ripening first.

Blanka – medium-sized berry, starting to ripen now, not as fruity as Pink champagne.

Rovada – biggest berry. Beautiful, full trusses. Smaller seeds. Ripening slowest.  I hope the flavor develops as they ripen; today I would characterize the flavor as poor.

Pink Champagne currants awaiting harvest.

Pink Champagne currants awaiting harvest. The blush on the berries deepens as the flavor sweetens.

 

Rovada sets berries in long, full trusses. Despite their color, these berries are not yet ripe.

Rovada sets berries in long, full trusses. Despite their color, these berries are not yet ripe.

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5 Comments »

  1. Your currant jam looks amazing. I love seeing the close-ups of the fruit and seeing them growing on the bushes.

    Comment by Kentucky Fried Garden — July 7, 2015 @ 2:53 am | Reply

  2. Beautiful berry pictures. Love the color or your jam.

    Comment by Norma Chang — July 7, 2015 @ 1:23 pm | Reply

  3. Oh dear. I have a Rovada that I haven’t had a harvest from yet. I’m watching the first berries ripen. I was hoping it would be good tasting. If not I’ll end up ripping it out and replacing it with one of my other two. One of which is Pink Champagne. I really like that one as it gets sweet enough for me to eat out of hand. I don’t often do that with my Jonkheer van Tets (an earlier red than Rovada). It is a bit too tart and not sweet enough. It ought to be great for jam though, which is what I intend with it.

    Comment by daphnegould — July 7, 2015 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

    • My Rovada and Blanka currants may get turned into jam.

      It is very easy to start new Pink Champagne bushes. My first try was in the fall and it failed. My second try was the following spring, probably in late March or early April. I lopped off 3 branches, stuck them together into a 3″ pot of Pro-mix and let them sit on the deck. I probably wrapped the pot in a plastic bag with the branches sticking out. I may have dipped them in rooting hormone, since I have container. The branches had 3″ roots by May 5 and I planted them.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — July 7, 2015 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  4. Currents are so beautiful – I’m sure I will work some into the garden at some point.

    Comment by Margaret — July 7, 2015 @ 9:24 pm | Reply


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