Blackcurrant Jam (no added sugar)
My grandparents had a large field of blackcurrants opposite their house and I used to imagine how many pies and tarts and jars of jam could be made from them if only the entire crop wasn’t sold to “the Ribena man”. For thats how most kids knew blackcurrants then, as a very sweet syrup to make squash with. Luckily my Grandad had his own bushes which my Nana threw old net curtains over to ward off the birds. Lucky us. The smell of making this heavenly jam reminded me of stewed blackcurrants and custard that was the favourite pud and swirling the midnight dark fruit through the yellow custard to create crazy patterns much to the consternation of my Grandad.
And so this morning I absent mindedly swirled the jam through my yoghurt….
The recipe works just as well the classic way so I have also given the classic white sugar measure too in case you cannot find the grape juice concentrate or apple juice concentrate which is not easy to find everywhere.
Gadgets & Gizmos
A good quality heavy bottomed pan – if you have a Le Creuset casserole for example – use it for jam. A good ladle, a metal jam funnel helps. Washed jars and lids in bicarbonate of soda solution. A sugar thermometer if you have one. Small saucers placed in the freezer.
Do read the Jam making rules if you have time
Ingredients for 8-10 small pots
1kg of blackcurrants taken off the stems
400g of apple puree (made by boiling up whole small unripe green apples because the pectin is in the pips and skin and passing through a mouli)
This gives 1.4kg of fruit total
The zest and juice of 1 lemon
1.2 kg sugar or 1.2 litres unsweetened grape juice concentrate
These fruits are high in pectin so you should not have any problem achieving a set.
Have everything prepared including your fruit. This is the key. Jars washed and warmed to 100C in the oven. A tray and a ladle, lids sterilised. Tea towels scrupulously clean. Now you can begin.
Place all ingredients except the lemon zest in your pan and warm slowly until the sugar has dissolved if using sugar. If using concentrate you can switch straight to full power.
Now switch up to full and bring to a rolling boil until you reach 104C or if you do not have a sugar thermometer you will wait some 20-30 minutes and notice smaller bubbles. Start testing the jam by placing a teaspoon on the cold plates. When it does not move/ noticeable wrinkles when you push your finger through it then it has set. You can see in the photo how the testing plate is held vertically.
Remove from the heat. Now gently add the lemon zest.
Pour into the hot jars and seal the lid immediately. Invert to sterilise the airspace. I also now water bath my jams, so place them in a saucepan of boiling water for 20 minutes and let cool overnight.