It was one of those beautiful mornings.  The one where I dash off in a hot sports car (my husbands), while he watches the boys.  With only a few hours, what could I accomplish?  It is always about the greatest amount of accomplishment.  Hours are precious and alone hours are even more so.  Over the last few days I'd been thinking about berry picking.  Little boys get bored really fast, and berry picking takes time, lots of time.  In my mind there really was no doubt where I wanted to go. 

    Riding through the morning traffic rush, with no need to worry about arrival time.  Blasting the music with the windows open.  It's all a matter of perspective when you're a mom.  A small moment to remember yourself amongst the bees and the berries.  I couldn't have asked for more on a random Wednesday morning. 

    If I could live in this picture forever, I would.  Rows and endless rows of raspberries, a cool breeze and soft white clouds overhead.  Can't you picture a little stone cottage covered in ivy, just around the corner?           
    I found two other women in the fields, just as excited about black raspberries and currants as me.  The older woman and I started talking about preserving.  She told me about her favorite jam combination of black raspberries and currants.  I smiled to myself.  I could only hope that thirty or more years down the road, I'll be doing the same thing.  Schooling some young (ok, relatively young) woman on the ways of jams and jellies. 

    So when I got home and looked at all my beautiful berries, I started thinking about what to do with them all.  I kept going back to that raspberry currant combination.  The women I spoke to said she left the seeds in her jam, but I just can't do raspberry seeds.  It's not my thing, too much crunch.  I soon discovered that the currants have seeds that are just like raspberry seeds.  So in my mind, jelly was the way to go. 

    Do I use all my currants? Black or red raspberries?  Finally, I settled on one quart of red raspberries and one quart each of white and red currants.  Since they have the exact same requirements and high levels of natural pectin, this one would be easy.           
Ever get that feeling you're being watched?
    And don't forget the cubes of Meyer lemon juice and zest.  I planned it all out a few months ago.  Six cubes, means six different jams or jellies that get a lovely boost of Meyer lemon goodness.  One of these cubes is earmarked specifically for this!

Currant-Raspberry Jelly

--I am going to assume that if you are attempting this recipe, you already know how to can.  If not, I would suggest going over proper canning procedures before attempting to make jelly.  You need to have a clear understanding of when your jelly has achieved a good set.  

makes 2 pints

1 quart red raspberries
1 quart red currants
1 quart white (or champagne) currants
1/4 cup water
3-4 cups organic cane sugar
Zest and juice from 1 Meyer lemon (fresh or frozen and totally optional)


Wash and stem your fruit.  In a large pot combine the raspberries, currants and water.  Slowly bring to a boil, gently crushing the fruit with a masher.  Gently boil the fruit until it becomes soft, about 5-10 minutes.  Let the mixture cool slightly and pour it through a strainer.  This should give you approximately one quart of juice.
 

--If you want to make really clear jelly place the mixture into cheese cloth and hang it up to allow just the juice to drip out.  I really don't care how "clear" my jelly is, so I just take the quickest way and use a strainer.

Clean out your pot and add the juice back into the pot.  Heat the juice to boiling and add the 3-4 cups of sugar.  Stir until the sugar dissolves and then boil rapidly without stirring or skimming until the jellying set point is reached.  Best way to know if you reached the correct point is to use the spoon test.   

--Mine hit point just before reaching 220°F

Remove the jelly from the heat and skim if necessary.  Fill prepared jars within 1/4 inch of the top.  Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.         
 


Comments

07/11/2014 12:07am

Ok, so my two favorite lines: "A small moment to remember yourself amongst the bees and the berries" and... " If I could live in this picture forever, I would." Sweet perfection. There is nothing like mommy time and I remember those years so well, jockeying for moments with my husband... everything was a negotiation :). And now, the thought that we only have two years left with our blondie before he leaves for college is literally keeping me up at night... how impossibly fast it all goes.

Well, I'm sure glad you ran into that older and wiser woman (heeheeh) who planted the raspberry currant seed... so beautiful. Not sure I've ever seen white currants before -- how cool -- definitely spooky too! Your boys must have loved that :). As always, a work of art.

Reply
07/11/2014 9:11am

Oh my...two more years till College...ahhhhh I can't even begin to imagine that.

I have never seen currants at all before this trip. I always knew what they looked like but I never actually ate or picked any. They are very cool.

Reply
07/11/2014 1:04am

Sandra, this jelly is calling my name! Currants (black, red, and white) are grown ornamentally where I live, so at this time of year you can walk down the street and find little bushes just bursting with ripe current and no one seems to care if you pick them. The courtyard of my apartment building has white currents growing right behind where I park my bike. I usually pick some and freeze them in my tiny Euro freezer, but jelly is a fabulous idea (I've got a heck of a lot more cupboard space than freezer space!). I'll definitely have this raspberry combo on my agenda this summer. And those frozen cubes of meyer lemon? Genius!

Reply
07/11/2014 9:14am

I with ya on the lack of freezer space, and I'm sure I have oodles more space then you do. That is so crazy about the currants in your area. I wish more places would plant "ornamental" fruit bushes. I can understand why they do it now, the bushes just look like a typical shrub...I didn't realize the currants hide inside them. Definitely make some jelly...super easy!

Reply
07/11/2014 9:14am

So jealous of your berry picking excursions and jelly-making! Those currants look stunning... and it was so smart of you to plan ahead with those frozen meyer lemon cubes!!! I'm very impressed over here Sandra... very impressed :)

Reply
07/11/2014 9:22am

Thanks Chris. I can't take credit on the Meyer lemon cubes, but we know a good idea when we see one, right ;)

Reply
Elizabeth
07/12/2014 7:27pm

I can obtain black and red currants readily in my neck of the woods, but have never seen white ones. But it is worth a try to substitute as this looks delicious.

Reply
07/12/2014 8:36pm

I'm sure you could substitute any color currant and it would still be delicious.

Reply
Kate
08/26/2014 5:57pm

Beautiful photos! I cannot tell you how rewarding finding your post was. I can no longer make jams or pick berries but currant-raspberry was my favorite jam to have glistening in jars on the kitchen counter. Your photos captured one of my favorite pastimes. Thank you for flooding my heart with happy memories.

Reply



Leave a Reply