Wedding Jams, Part 2: Redcurrant Rhapsody

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Next up after the blackcurrants were the redcurrants. In Finland, these are usually used in desserts, while the blackcurrants are usually juiced. Both are not so often made into jam, apparently. I ended up trading some with a coworker for her apple jam and her kids were excited by the novelty of it.

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With such gorgeous translucent color, you can see why they are often used for decorating cakes.

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As with the previous recipe, I used a 1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar. So in went about 1 kilo of frozen berries.

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Time lapse of berries cooking down and releasing their juice. I cooked over medium heat and just gave them a good stir every few minutes or so to keep anything from sticking.

After they cooked a bit, it was time to puree the berries to a smooth consistency.

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This time around, I didn’t bother with making the syrup solution prior to cooking the fruit. With the amount of jam I was making, it just didn’t seem very efficient. I just added 1 kilo of sugar straight into the puree and turned down the heat a little to let it dissolve for a few minutes. When stirring the mixture no longer resulted in sugar grains sticking to my spoon, I turned the heat back up to get a boil going. If I were making just one batch, however, I would probably have stuck to the syrup method since it does seem to take away any chance of you ending up with crunchy jam.

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Letting the jam boil for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t boil over — placing a wooden spoon over the pot is supposed to help. The scummy foam at the top is the impurities coming to the surface. That¬†should be skimmed off prior to ladling out the jam.

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This is what happens when jam boils over because you weren’t paying attention those last crucial minutes ūüėõ Yeah, I learned my lesson after that.

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Doing the wrinkle test on redcurrant jam. The left one was the first try, when the jam was almost but not quite set. You can see it is shoveable but not wrinkling. The second time, wrinkles appeared in the skin, indicating perfect consistency.

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And… I finally found myself a proper jam funnel.

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There are canning kits that come with little sticks that have magnets on the end that let you pick lids out of boiling water without danger to yourself. They do NOT sell these kits in Finland. So here I am using chopsticks — METAL chopsticks, no less — to take out those lids. Living dangerously, yo.

In yet another attempt to increase efficiency, I started keeping my filled jars in almost-simmering pots of water while they were awaiting their turn in the asparagus pot. That was so they wouldn’t start cooling down and take longer to reheat when it was their turn to boil for 5 minutes.

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Black and red, side by side. Taste-wise, there really is a world of difference, even though they are two closely related berries. Blackcurrant jam has this rich, heavy, sweet flavor that sits on your tongue for a while afterwards. Redcurrant is lighter, tarter — almost sharper, in some says. Both are very tasty¬†and worth having around to give your toast some personality.

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