I owe this post and my new obsession with Bar-le-Duc jelly to my favorite farm stand and my 2 year old daughter. This morning, as I stood sweating in the farm stand while the 2-year-old threw a tantrum which sent an entire container of white currants on the ground, I never could have imagined the day could end with this revelation. And yet, here we are. Let’s back up a little bit.
We made an unscheduled trip to the farm stand this morning after Facebook told us that the first crop of corn was fresh off the tractor. How could we not? My intention was to do a quick trip to get the corn and be home in time for lunch. After a visit to the chickens and goats, a quick ride on the toy tractor, and a stroll through the perennials, I had finally convinced my travel companion that we should check out the farm stand. As I made my way to the corn, I saw her, out of the corner of my eye, grab her own shopping basket and proceed to walk around the stand. I should mention that, for whatever reason, all of the shelves in the farm stand are at toddler height. So, really, whatever looks good to her, she can reach (yay). Apparently, today, white currants looked pretty good to her. She had no sooner put them in her basket and they tipped over onto the floor and, well, we were going to be buying them.
I had no idea what to do with them once we got home though. While white currants, in particular, are often used raw in salads and other dishes, I found them a bit too tart for our family. After a little googling, I found the story of Bar-le-Duc jelly and I was in love. With the idea anyway. Basically, there is one town in France that has made jelly with white and red currants since something like forever and it’s an insanely expensive delicacy. Because these women remove all of the seeds. By hand. With goose quills. I cannot even imagine having the time to do that, so this recipe includes seeds. It’s so amazingly good that it doesn’t even matter that much. I still need to buy a jar of the real stuff someday. Just because.
If you don’t like liquor, substitute more water for the Grand Marnier. I wouldn’t advise it though. In fact, my next batch I’m planning to use wine. Can you even imagine? I can hardly wait. I wish it were cheesecake season for me because this would be so amazing over an almost savory cheesecake. In a pinch, over cream cheese with crackers should do just fine though.
- 2 cups white sugar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup Grand Marnier
- 1 cup white or red currants, stems removed
- Combine sugar, water and Grand Marnier in a small saucepan over medium heat
- Cook until sugar dissolves, 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently
- Add currants and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring almost continuously
- Immediately pour into jars
- If jars have been prepared for canning, cool and store as you normally would. If cans have not been prepared for canning, place in refrigerator immediately