How to make blackcurrant jam: a recipe using fresh black currants

Blackcurrants on the bush, ready for picking
Blackcurrants on the bush, ready for picking | Source
A bowl of juicy homegrown blackcurrants
A bowl of juicy homegrown blackcurrants | Source

Blackcurrant jam is one of the easiest jams to make, as the skin of blackcurrants is so high in pectin you don't have to add any extra, and will always set if you use the ingredients and method described below. Delicious served with fresh crusty bread and butter, and with a glorious taste and smell that is reminiscent of long gone summers.

Equipment needed:

  • a large saucepan
  • wooden spoon
  • straining bag (optional - for making blackcurrant jelly)
  • enough sterilised jam jars to hold your finished jam (this recipe makes 5 one pound jars of jam, or up to 3 jars of jelly)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb fresh blackcurrants, washed and destalked
  • 2 1/2 lb sugar
  • 1 pint of water
  • knob of butter (about half a teaspoon) (optional)

Method:

  • Put the fruit and water in a large pan, and simmer until it is tender, then add the sugar and stir until it has all dissolved.
  • Bring back to a rolling boil and boil rapidly for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it cooks evenly. Blackcurrants have the most delicious smell when cooking!
  • Meanwhile, prepare the jam jars for use. They should be sterilised and then warmed on a low heat in the oven - this prevents the glass from cracking when you pour in your boiling jam.
  • Test for a set : take a little of the mixture on a teaspoon and drop onto a cold plate. Allow to cool and then push the jam across the plate with your finger - if a skin has formed your jam has reached setting point, but if it is still runny with no skin it needs to be boiled for a little longer. How long exactly depends on the pectin levels in your fruit, which can vary, so be patient, and keep testing every few minutes until you are convinced you have a set, then remove the pan from the heat.
  • Add the knob of butter at this point, as it will help to clear the jam of any frothy residue.
  • For jam containing the whole fruit, pour the jam directly into the prepared jam jars, filling all the way to the top, and cover immediately with waxed paper and tight fitting lids.
  • Alternatively, if you prefer a smooth jelly, with no bits in, pour the jam mixture through a straining bag or fine sieve, and get into the jars as quickly as possible. The mixture will start to set as soon as it cools down, so speed is of the essence.
  • Wipe the jars clean once cold, as they will probably have got quite sticky while pouring out the jam, and label with the variety and date. This jam will keep for 12 months if stored in a cool place. Refrigerate once the jar is opened for use.

Some of my homemade jars of blackcurrant jelly
Some of my homemade jars of blackcurrant jelly | Source

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Comments 9 comments

Rickrideshorses profile image

Rickrideshorses 5 years ago from England

Making jam seems so much better than buying it at the supermarket: healthier, tastier, cheaper, and it can be stored, like you say. After reading this great hub, I'm going to give it a try. Any idea where to get blackcurrants from? Can they be picked in the wild?


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 5 years ago from Southwest England Author

Thanks for your comment rickrideshorses. Blackcurrants are not usually found in the wild in the UK> I am lucky enough have a few bushes in my garden so always have a plentiful supply in July, but they are all gone now. This time of year (autumn) you may still find wild blackberries or damsons which make great jam, but you will need to check another recipe for the correct amount of sugar and pectin to go with each type of fruit.

Late autumn is also the best time to plant blackcurrant bushes in your garden, if you don't mind waiting until the summer after next to get your first crop!


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

IF: This is one of my favorite jams! it is very versatile and makes great glazes for all kinds of foods.


Chaval profile image

Chaval 5 years ago from UK

I was hoping for some blackcurrants and redcurrants from a couple of bushes I bought, but slugs ate them to within an inch of their lives. Maybe next summer they'll crop . . . I'll keep your recipe close by.


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 5 years ago from Southwest England Author

I hope your bushes grow back next year Chaval - they are fairly resilient, so fingers crossed. Redcurrant jelly is lovely too.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Thanks much--I had to look up what a knob of butter is but now I know that it is a walnut sized piece of butter. Will have to use coconut oil due to a cow's milk allergy, but that substitution usually works out very well. I think I can do this... :) Have a safe and happy new year.


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 4 years ago from Southwest England Author

good luck with that RTalloni, I see no reason why coconut oil shouldn't be used as a substitute. I hadn't realised a "knob of butter" wasn't a well-known measure! Lol :)


Etienne 2 years ago

It isn't as easy as stated in Women and Home. It didn't gel. We boiled it again with the addition of two liquid packages of pectin That didn't do too much either. We added 4 tbsp of corn starch. Wonderful. Did not change the taste.


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 2 years ago from Southwest England Author

I am surprised, Etienne, I have never had any trouble setting blackcurrant jam. You do have to be patient waiting for it to set sometimes, try to get a really high, full-rolling boil for a good 10 minutes, and just keep testing it until it gets there. The corn starch sounds like a good solution for those who can't wait :-)

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    Imogen French profile image

    Imogen French398 Followers
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    Imogen is from West Dorset, in the UK. She works in publishing, and writes mainly about the environment, gardening, and vegetarian food.



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