Jam is a lovely way of preserving some of our beautiful summer fruits. Making jam needs no special equipment, although you may find a jam funnel useful for the hot jars to prevent the jam dribbling down the sides.
Preparation time : 10 minutes. Cooking time: 45-55 minutes, Makes 1 x750ml jar or 3 x 250ml jars
1kg blackcurrants, stalks removed
750g jam sugar
Juice of 1½ lemons
12g (½ sachet of pectin), optional for thicker consistency
Wash the jars in hot soapy water, and immerse them in a large pan of boiling water, for 10 minutes, then remove using tongs and dry upside down on a wire rack.
Put a couple of saucers into the freezer so they will be cold when you need them later.
Wash and pat dry the blackcurrants.
Put the blackcurrants into a large saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice over a medium heat, stirring continuously until the sugar and juice is combined.
Bring to the boil, then simmer gently until fruit is tender — about 45 minutes — then increase the heat and, if using, add the pectin.
Boil briskly for 5-10 minutes then test whether it has reached setting point. Remove from the heat, spoon a little onto one of your cold plates, and when cool push the jam with your little finger.
If a crinkly skin has formed, it is set. If not, boil again rapidly for five minutes and test again. Repeat until set.
Before pouring into jars, pass the jam through a sieve as there may be excess liquid. If you are looking for a thicker consistency, let some of the liquid run away through the sieve, then pot the jam.
After filling, press a waxed disc on the surface of the jam and wipe the rim carefully with a hot, damp clean cloth. Cover the jam either while still very hot or completely cold.
lStore in a cool, dry and preferably dark place.