They are easy to grow, not needing much looking after and reward you with 10-15lbs of fruit, per bush, per year. If you’d like to grow your own and enjoy this wonderful fruit in summer puddings, ice creams, smoothies and of course, jam, here’s how to grow them
If you would like to make your own home made jam, but have never tackled it before, this is a great one to start with as it’s one of the easiest. Having said that, raw blackcurrants are hard to find in the shops. I am lucky enough to be able to grow some in the garden, if you don’t have that privilege, you might know someone with an allotment, or scout the greengrocers. Assuming you can find some, here’s a fab recipe for home made blackcurrant jam.
Home Made Blackcurrant Jam
Total cost £?. I’m afraid I couldn’t cost this recipe, as I couldn’t find the price of either fresh or frozen blackcurrants anywhere!
Total yield 6 standard jam jars
First of all, remove your currants from their stalks. Sort through them and remove any leaves, stones and unusable currants. Give them a rinse under the tap and drain.
Now put the currants and water in a large saucepan able to tolerate very hot temperatures. You don’t need a preserving pan if you haven’t got one. If you do have one of course, feel free to use it. Cover, bring to the boil, and simmer gently for at least 30 minutes. Stir every now and again to prevent the pulp sticking and burning.
The skins need to be soft. Do not rush this step. Cook the fruit on too high a heat and they may catch and give your lovely jam a burnt flavour. Cook for not enough time and you’ll have hard or chewy fruit in the finished jam.
Once the fruit is soft enough, add the sugar. Remove the lid and boil quite fast until setting point is reached.
You can test this by putting a teaspoon of jam on a cold saucer and putting it in the fridge for a couple of minutes. If it’s ready, it will have formed a skin in that time and when you push it gently with a finger you’ll see that skin.
If you have a thermometer able to measure high enough, it should set when it reaches 104c/220f. Just keep simmering until it’s ready, but, on the other hand, don’t simmer more than necessary, or the lovely fresh flavour will gradually be lost.
While the jam is simmering, sort your jam jars out. If you haven’t already, wash them, and pop them in a low oven to sterilise them. Some people use jars fresh from the dishwasher. Whatever you do, they need to be very clean, and dry. Any water in the jars allows a sugar syrup to develop, and over time, that may well grow mould, spoiling your lovely jam. And they need to be scrupulously clean so your jam will keep well, there must be no germs, bacteria or mould spores at all in the jars. And don’t forget the lids. If you are not using lids, cover the jars with cellophane circles and elastic bands. Or use circles cut from cereal box inners and perhaps a pretty ribbon. A little gingham fabric looks fabulous. Anything that will keep the jam clean and dry will do the job.
Once the jam is ready to set, stir in a generous knob of butter, this gets rid of any scum floating on the surface. Stir well. Put your jars on a heatproof surface and carefully ladle in the jam. Be careful, splashes will badly burn you at this temperature.Wonderful, fresh and tangy, home made blackcurrant jam Click To Tweet
This batch should yield 6 jam jars full. I usually put a very clean tea towel over the filled jars until they are just warm and only then put the lid on. The tea towel is to keep any mould spores in the air, off the surface of the jam.
Others have recommended putting the lids on straight away and turning the jars upside down
Six beautiful jars of jam. Intense and full of flavour.
Like the apricot jam I wrote about earlier, this is a Mrs Beeton recipe, and one I have been making for a huge number of years.
If you like to make gift hampers for Christmas or any other occasion, a jar or two of this would be a very tasty addition.
Other uses for blackcurrants
Delicious has a couple of lovely looking recipes for hot blackcurrant and apple charlotte plus a blackcurrant, lime and coconut cheesecake
The ever dependable Nigel Slater wrote about this completely gorgeous looking blackcurrant and almond tart, and blackcurrant and poppy seed buns.