The fruit I miss the most are black currants (also know as cassis or Ribes nigrum). I grew up drinking hectolitres of my favourite black currant juice (diluted with other juices of course) and gobbling black currant jam. These little berries are very abundant in the rural southern Poland. Currently, they are so cheap that people stopped picking them because it costs less to let them rot than pick.
Black currant are small, very tart berries. They are impossible to eat without any sugar. Their characteristic sour taste that lends itself very well to jams, ice cream/frozen yogurt, cakes and cookies. The great taste is just one part of their appeal. Black currants are insanely high in vitamin C, with the levels 4 times more than in oranges. This translates into more than 250% daily requirement! Black current are also loaded with flavonoids, a powerful antioxidant group found in fruit and vegetables. Flavonoids have a number of benefit for human health. To name a few: they reduce toxic compound associated with cancer and ageing process, supplement cognitive function, and slow down atherosclerosis.
As far as I can tell black currants have not been on Toronto’s radar. In fact, I still have trouble finding them in regular stores or even fruit stands. Even after a decade living in the city, this is very much frustrating (and shocking) to me. No matter! I found them at Andrew’s Scenic Acres. Well, I found them in the fridge of the ASA store. Despite my best intentions to pick my own berries, NOBODY I asked at the farm could give me intelligible directions to the black currant patch. After 40 minutes of wondering in blistering sun, I begrudgingly bought the ones from the store (¢50 more per pound), muttering about employee incompetency while waiting at the cash.
I had enough currants to make a nice batch of jam. This jam was prepared according to my standard jam recipe minus the apples because black currants are very high in pectin and do not require additional jelling agent. This jam turned out great! This is by far my best and favourite jam. It has the perfect sweet-sour balance and as a result the black currant flavour really pops. The colour gets more vibrant and red when spread thin. The consistency is very thick, even more thick than Sweet Lips‘. I cannot wait to use it in cakes and cookies!