I am five years old, picking currants in the back yard of Grandma Minnie’s house. I am wearing a light summer dress, maybe the one with the hoop skirt and frilled hem. My blond curls are glued to my damp temples.
|Me and big sis in Grandma's garden|
|Plump red currants|
When our pails are full, we bring them in to Grandma, where the currants are washed, boiled, strained, and mixed with sugar and pectin to become quivering melt-in-your-mouth jelly in jars topped with paraffin plugs. We take several home . . .
I almost believe that even now, if I go down to the basement in the house where I grew up, I will find some of those jars in the corner cabinet in the laundry room, with labels in Grandma’s handwriting: Currant Jelly, August 1954.
I didn't find Grandma Minnie's recipe for currant jelly in her notebook, but it was easy enough to find several recipes on the Internet. Similar to what I recall about Minnie's recipe, these call for large quantities of sugar, as currants are notoriously tart. The jelly is tasty spread on whole wheat toast, or can also be used as a glaze on your favorite Dutch apple cake recipe. If you'd like to try that, be sure to beat the jelly with a fork, then spread it on top of the apple cake as soon as you take it out of the oven.
|Currant jelly on wheat toast|