BLACK CURRANT AND BLUEBERRY JAM WITH BASIL
Currants and blueberries are “currently” in season and available at your local Vancouver Farmers Markets.
This recipe is an exotic combination of lime leaf and Thai basil provide a perfect foil for tart currant and sweet blueberry. The set of this jam is quite firm. For a softer jam decrease cooking time.
ACTIVE TIME: 30 min TOTAL TIME: 40 min
Makes about 2 1/2 cups, (750 ml) Have ready 6 x 125 ml, or 3 x 250 ml jars
•280 gm black currants, or a combination of black and red currants
•280 gm blueberries
•280 gm granulated sugar
•8-10 fresh lime leaves, or 1 tsp grated lime zest
•14 gm Thai basil
1 In a 10-12 (30cm) skillet or dutch oven, mash all the ingredients together. Set aside, covered, for at least 30 min, and up to overnight.
2 Bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat just enough to maintain a boil, and cook, uncovered, until mixture will form a gel, about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Using tongs, or a fork, remove leaves and stems from jam. It’s ok if tiny leaves (smaller than your baby fingernail) remain.
3 Testing for gel (2 methods)
4a. Place a small plate/saucer in the freezer before you start cooking your jam. When you think the jam is nearing your desired thickness, remove the plate from the freezer. Drop about 1/2 teaspoon (3 ml) of the jam onto the cold plate, tilting the plate slightly. The jam will cool quickly to indicate thickness.
5b. Remove the pot from the burner. Draw a large spoon through the jam mixture. If the jam is thick enough to gel, the spoon will leave a trail into which the jam does not flow quickly.
6 Select a large pot which is at least 4 (10cm) taller than your jars. Set a cooling rack, tea towel or canning rack into the bottom, add water to half full, filling the jars with water. Bring to simmering. Set screw bands aside; heat lids in hot water, NOT boiling (180 F/82 C). Keep jars and lids hot until ready to fill. If your lids are newer (post 2014 purchase) pre-heating is not required.
7 Remove the jars from the pot of water, setting onto a towel on the counter. Ladle hot jam into the hot jars to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top rim (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim removing any stickiness. Centre lid on jar; apply screw band securely & firmly until resistance is met fingertip tight. Do not overtighten. Place jars back into the pot of water. If the last jar is less than 3/4 full, do not process, but store in fridge for immediate use.
8 Cover the pot; bring water to a boil. Boil filled jars 10 minutes. When processing time is complete, turn heat off and remove canner lid. When boil subsides – bubbles no longer rise to surface (3 to 5 minutes) – remove jars without tilting. Cool jars upright, undisturbed 24 hours. DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.
9 After cooling, check jar seals. Sealed lids curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place.
A rare Vancouver-born resident, Chef Karen Dar Woon has been a culinary professional since 2003. She facilitates cooking and food preservation workshops for groups throughout Metro Vancouver and has provided expert content for on-line discussion forums, radio, tv and newspapers. Karen believes that personal and community food security are improved when people can eat what you buy/grow, and buy what you eat. With a background in chemistry, materials science, and graphic arts, Karen combines her skills and talents to create art on a plate. As Your Secret Chef, she provides personalized, in-home cooking lessons, private dinner parties, and artful event catering services. She was inducted into Les Dames d’Escoffier BC Chapter in 2013, and takes her seat with the Board of Directors as the Green Tables Liaison; she was previously a Director of The Sharing Farm Society. Karen can be reached via email at email@example.com and on twitter @yoursecretchef