The Jam Report returns to swoon over one of the best jams we've ever had. Is it from some secret Parisian source? San Francisco Ferry Plaza? A neighbor's kitchen? No, none of the above. It's one of the IKEA jams.
Yes, we are often tempted by those exotic Scandinavian specialties, the cloudberry and gooseberry, but we recently grabbed a jar of the black currant preserves, thinking it would be like the plain, serviceable red currant jelly in our fridge - good to top a cake sometime. Well, it's much too good to waste on a cake.
It's plummy and dark, with a deep, lingering taste of tannins that give it the aroma of good black tea, under the sweetness. It's rich and sweet without being too sweet, and there are tiny berries half crushed in the jam that smear beautifully. No, this one's not going to be dessert; we're saving it for the toast!
Black currants are not to be confused with Zante currants - dried tiny Corinth grapes that often show up in scones. Real black and red currants are native to northern Europe and North America. They were systematically rooted out in North America for quite some time, since they were found to help spread a tree blight, but they have made a comeback recently. Although they are still not as well known as in Europe, where they are often called for in Scandinavian and British cookbooks, they are growing more popular as an extremely strong source of antioxidants and vitamin C.
We just think they're yummy - IKEA or no. In fact, we see a black currant craze coming on - we wonder if black currant bushes will grow in our zone...