I have two blackcurrant bushes in my garden. They produced a really heavy crop last year and I was able to make a big batch of jam. This year's crop hasn't been so good. I picked them this morning and made some jam-not much just three pots. I can't see them lasting long in this house. I love making preserves of all kinds. It is one of the most satisfying things you can do. I especially like making them with free fruit either from the garden or foraged. Making jams like raspberry or strawberry can be quite expensive if you have to buy your fruit.
I had exactly 2 lbs of currants. I put them in a preserving pan with 1 pint of water (that's 20 fl oz for North American readers). I cooked them slowly until their skins burst.
Next I added 2½ lbs sugar which I had warmed in a low oven for 10 mins. This makes it dissolve quickly. I stirred until all the sugar was dissolved and then raised the temperature and boiled hard until setting point was reached.
Here it is at a full rolling boil. The recipe I followed was from Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen. It instructed me to 'boil briskly for 20 minutes'. I did this and it burnt. Darina has obviously forgotten the skill of jam making. 20 minutes is far too long. I suggest you start testing for a set after 5 mins and continue at 5 min intervals until it is set (when a little bit poured onto a cold saucer wrinkles). A stir every now and then will stop it burning. This was no disaster however. I potted it up without scraping the bottom of the pan and so avoided the burnt bits. If it hadn't burnt I think I'd have got at least one more pot's worth.
American readers may be surprised to learn that in the UK we don't can our preserves. The hot water bath treatment is reserved only for bottling fruit and veg without sugar which is rarely done nowadays. Jams, jellies and chutneys are simply poured into hot sterilised jars and stored somewhere cool and dry. I have jars in my garage that are over a year old and still perfectly good all without canning.
I reuse honey jars, tomato purée jars, mayonnaise jars and any other jar that comes my way. I sterilise them simply by washing and putting into a 100 degree oven for 15 minutes or so.
Homemade jam on homemade bread. What's not to like? :o)
Apart from washing up the burnt jam pan.....