Red Currant Jam

The red currants in my garden are a day or two away from perfectly ripe:

Fresh currants are a perfect example of why an urban garden is worth it: they never show up at supermarkets, rarely and in small amounts at farmers’ markets and CSA’s. If you don’t have a garden, don’t tune out yet. Currents do great in containers and fruit well on only a few hours of sunlight (maybe your fire escape, or is there a community garden nearby that you could get a plot in?).

What is a fresh currant like? Ruby red and jewel-translucent. Sharply tart, providing a nice contrast to sweet fruits and desserts. Freezes beautifully with no special pre-treatment required (and a handful of frozen fresh currants tossed over a dessert in winter will make you the hit of the party, trust me.)

James Mackinnon, one of the authors of Plenty, came up with a quick gooseberry salsa that would be just as good with red currants. Both gooseberries and fresh currants are as good in savory dishes as sweet.

But here is a classic pairing because they’re both ripe at the same time, Strawberry & Red Currant Jam. The currants provide pectin and the tartness that most strawberry jam recipes rely on lemon juice for (lemons don’t grow around here):

Strawberry-Red Currant Jam

2 parts strawberries, coarsely chopped

1 part fresh currants or gooseberries

2 Tablespoons water

Simmer, stirring often, until as thick as you like your jam.


Local honey to taste.

That’s it, unless you want to extend its shelf life, in which case either refrigerate for up to two months or process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Not sure what this is about? Read Getting Ready for the 250-Mile Diet and The Rules


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