Blackcurrant Jam

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.....



  1. I couldn't agree more, jam making is so rewarding. Blackcurrants are so good for you too. I've got some in the freezer waiting to be made into jam!
    Have a good weekend.

  2. Oh how I love Blackcurrant jam - my mum used to make it extra sharp.

  3. Anonymous4:51 pm BST

    ok so you have more black currants and sweetpeas than me and I spend all my time gardening. It's not fair. ME

  4. ME, you did plant both the sweet peas and the blackcurrants remember, and Worcester is soooo much further south than Brum!

  5. You must have heard a gasp coming from across the pond..I have never heard of not processing the jars...I love it though. Thanks for all of the info.

  6. Like you I too have my black currants, from the allotment, at the ready for making jam tomorrow. Hopefully it will come out as well as yours looks, we'll see...

  7. Mmmmmmmmmm.I didn't know that about the canning thing. I made blackcurrant jam out of the currants that I steeped in alcohol to make cassis. Double bubble. Strictly for grownups and not recommended at brekky time.Have a good weekend.

  8. Anonymous7:36 pm BST

    Your jam looks delicious and that last photo is soooo wonderful but deadly to us dieting girls (still pi**ed off a bit about it but gotta do it I know) - i'm trying very hard indeed not to go into the kitchen and have some jam and butter on bread! Have a great weekend! xxx

  9. Mmmm love blackcurrant jam

  10. Blackcurrant jam is my absolute favourite in the whole world. It also represents a good memory. When I was very young, I used to have to go and stay with my school teacher for periods of time (long story). Every morning for breakfast she would give me wholemeal toast (which we never had at home - my granny thought it was common!!!!) with home made blackcurrant jam on it. Her cat would sit on my knee while I ate it and we listened to Radio 4. Lovely.

  11. Anonymous8:04 pm BST

    had that problem making apple butter, burnt bottom of the pan. Your jam look delish....!

  12. ...and of course those who made blackcurrant jam as well!

    Nina xxx


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