“Are we ready?”
I look down at my young son.
“Ready.” His big green eyes sparkle with the hunt.
I look up to my dear husband.
“Ready.” He adjusts his cap against the light.
The humidity intensifies as the early summer sun rises higher. The scent of bruised grass rises from the path trodden by those who’ve gone before us.
“Where do we begin?”
“Black currants,” declares Son.
We hoist our baskets from the dirt and head into the rows of lush green bushes.
“Way out at the end, where no one has picked before,” says Husband from long experience.
An hour later, we gather our spoils; 11 quarts of big juicy black currants. We raid the strawberry patch. A minor detour bags us some pink gooseberries. Those babies are so sour your toes will curl. Snow peas finish the morning, sweet and crunchy.
Sore of back and sticky of face, we head to the concession stand and devour our second reward for all our hard work; frozen strawberry yoghurt with berries from the nearby field.
At home, the real work begins. Son, so cute in his custom-sized apron, stands beside me at the sinks for the triple pick and rinse cycle. The scent rising off the sun-warmed currants is seriously heady stuff, reminiscent of gin.
Black currant mojito? Hmm…
Back to the pots—yes, that’s plural.
Measure the currants and into the pots they go. Measure half of the currants’ volume of sugar—one bowl for each pot.
Wait for the currants to juice up; then add the sugar.
Simmer 20 minutes or so until the jell starts to set.
Son’s weapon of choice? An enormous wooden spoon as long as his arm to stir occasionally so the bottom doesn’t burn.
Then set up the family production line. Son lifts a jar from the hot water and sets it on the counter. Mom (me) pours boiling jam into jar and seals it. Husband gloats over each new jar of black gold.
“Mine, all mine,” he jokes. Did I mention he’s a jam fiend?
“The whole family made it, so it’s Family Jam,” declares Son.
Our ultimate reward comes on a snowy Saturday morning. We pop a lid, releasing the scents of summer and the memories of a family outing.
This post was inspired by Pepper Phillips at Authors of Main Street. Thanks for the recall!
© Joan Leacott 2012, photo by Aconcagua
While I await the black currant mojito recipe, I’ll be munching on toast and the last of the golden raspberry jam from the market I visited last summer.
“Black currant mojito? Hmm… I digress.” LOL. I also really love that your son named it “Family Jam.” Fruit eaten straight off the vine or limb is a heavenly treat, I’ll bet your jam is as delicious. 🙂
Hence, the sticky faces. I think farmers price strawberries to account for in-the-field eating. If they don’t, they should. I’m going to work on a recipe for a black currant mojito, then I’ll post it. The colour alone will be gorgeous.
Joan, we used to do this very thing when my kids were little. we’d go into the interior of BC and pick fruit and can it. but we did it right there – in an 11 foot camper!!!! then on the way home, we’d stop at the berry farm and pick berries. the top, queen sized bunk would be covered with fruit. then we’d rush home and i’d make jam. yum yum. thanks to both you and Pepper for the warm memories.
A camper?! You’re a brave woman, Louise. Family times are so important when the kids are little. I firmly believe it’s why Son (now 25) talks so freely to his parents.
my kids are in their late 30s and we still talk freely – so I totally agree, Joan.
How sweet! I’m glad my post inspired you.
Sweet like jam? 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.