Homemade Blackcurrant Jam

Blackcurrants

Blackcurrants

Until last summer I’d never made jam, but after moving to Streamfield and inheriting a vegetable patch and fruit cage bursting with a wide variety of fruits, I’ve had to learn pretty fast.  The weather over the last few weeks has been incredible and this year I’ve had a bumper blackcurrant harvest, and for the first time have made a batch of blackcurrant jam.  The perfect gift for unsuspecting friends!

Ingredients

1.8 kg (4lb) blackcurrants

1.1 litres (2 pints of water)

1.8 kg (4lb) sugar* – Top Tip = heat the sugar in a warm oven before you add to the preserving pan to help it dissolve more speedily

sterilised jam jars – I used the dishwasher to sterilise my jars

preserving pan

jam thermometer

*I began by using an equal sugar to fruit ratio but when I tested the jam on my son and his friends they all agreed it was too tart!  I then increased the sugar ratio to 1.5 x sugar to fruit and the boys were delighted!!

Blackcurrants in a pan with waterMethod

I started by harvesting the blackcurrants from my vegetable patch and then carefully washed and removed the stalks from the blackcurrants.  I did this the night before I made the jam in front of the television and refrigerated overnight.

The next morning I placed the currants in a preserving pan with water and brought the water to boiling point.  Next, I turned down the heat and simmered until the fruit was a soft and pulpy consistency, stirring all the time to prevent the fruit sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Blackcurrants with sugar addedAfter that, I removed the preserving pan from the heat and added the sugar, constantly stirring until the sugar was dissolved.  I then brought the jam to the boil and boiled rapidly until the jam was a runny consistency and just below temperature on my jam thermometer.  I’ve overcooked jam in the past so now prefer things runny rather than rock solid, as you can always boil for longer if necessary!

Next, I removed the scum from the top of the jam with a metal spoon.

Blackcurrants  in a jam jarFinally, while the jam was still hot I carefully poured it into sterilised jam jars and placed a circular round of greaseproof paper on top of the jam and tightly sealed.  Don’t stick on your homemade labels until the jam has completely cooled!

Top Tip

I always use a very small jar as my testing jar to ensure that the jam has set properly.  It’s very tempting to keep testing the jam to see if it’s set once it’s in the jar.  Do wait until the next morning to test by spreading your breakfast toast with your homemade jam from the tester jar.  This should provide you with a fair indication if the set is correct and the fruit/sugar ratio is working.

I have been known in the past to put my jam back into the preserving pan and cook for slightly longer or to add more sugar and my jam has still worked perfectly.

Jam making takes practice, so don’t be discouraged if at first you don’t succeed.  It makes the jam taste even better once you’ve had a few disasters!!   Blackcurrant Jam on ToastGood luck and happy jam making!

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