We had a good harvest of blackcurrants from our garden and, using them as the base, I have made three types of jam.
For all 3 recipes, to sterilise the jars, I washed and dried them, placed them on a baking tray and heated them in the oven (160 degrees) for 10 minutes. To test when the jam was ready, I turned off the heat and spooned a little hot jam onto a chilled saucer (from the freezer). Once cool, you push the jam with your finger. If it wrinkles a little, it’s ready and has reached setting point. If it is too runny to wrinkle, you return the pan to the heat and cook in 2-3 minute stages, removing the pan from the heat each time you do the saucer check, until the jam wrinkles. To seal the jam, I used the ‘upside down method’: you ladle the jam into the jars, filling them to the brim; then securely place the screw-top lids on top and turn upside down; leave to cool before turning the jars the right way up.
Here are the recipes (each makes about 4 jam jars of jam):
Blackcurrant and Strawberry Jam
(adapted from a recipe on https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/711653/summer-berry-jam)
- 500g blackcurrants
- 400g strawberries
- 750g jam sugar (the one with added pectin)
- juice of 1 lemon
- finger-tip size knob of butter ((optional)
- The night before you make your jam, layer the berries and sugar together in a very large bowl, then cover and set aside at room temperature. This helps the sugar to start dissolving so you don’t run the risk of over-cooking the fruit when you actually begin to make the jam. The next morning, give everything a quick stir, then set aside again until you are ready to start cooking.
- Before you start, put a small saucer in the freezer. Tip the berries, scraping out all juices and any undissolved sugar, into a preserving pan, or a large, wide-based pan (the wider and more open the pan, the faster the jam will be ready so a preserving pan is really ideal). Stir in the lemon juice.
- Start the berries over a low heat until all the sugar is completely dissolved, then bring to the boil and simmer for 20 mins maximum.
- Skim off any excess scum, then stir in the knob of butter, if you want – this will help to dissolve any remaining scum. The jam will keep in a cool, dark place for at least 6 months. Refrigerate jars once opened.Blackcurrant and Apple Jam
(adapted from a recipe on http://www.blackcurrantfoundation.co.uk/recipes/apple- blackcurrant-jam)
- 500g blackcurrants
- 500g bramley cooking apples
- 2 tbsp Jo Hilditch cassis
- 1 x 1kg pack preserving sugar
- Peel, core and chop the apples into small chunks and place the fruit in a large preserving pan (or a very large saucepan). Add the blackcurrants and cassis along with 2 tablespoons of water and cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until the apple and blackcurrants have reduced to a soft pulp – add a little more water if the fruit sticks to the base of the pan.
- Add the sugar and stir over a low heat until it is completely dissolved. Raise the heat and bring to the boil. Cook the jam at a rapid boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the jam burning on the bottom of the pan. The jam should take 5-7 minutes to reach setting point.
Blackcurrant and Apricot Jam
- 1 kg. (stoned) fresh apricots
- 300g blackcurrants
- 1.1kg sugar
- Cut the apricots into quarters; remove and discard the stones.
- Add them to the blackcurrants and sugar and leave in a cool place for 12 hours.
- Cook for 20 minutes maximum, stirring from time to time and skimming frequently.