It used to be that Mr Mac made jam and I made chutney. Usually because Mr Mac has a short attention span and when I would still be up at 2am stirring the chutney, patiently waiting for the vinegar to evaporate and a “channel” to form, he would be giving out zzzzz’s, the jam finished hours ago.
However, I’m not sure how it happened but I seem to be the one who makes the blackcurrant jam now (not the gooseberry, raspberry or strawberry though). So despite the awful weather, we picked a bumber crop of blackcurrants at the weekend – just over 6lbs from 2 bushes. Don’t quote me but I have a sneaky feeling blackcurrants have a strong Scottish connection and therefore thrive in the dreich, damp, drizzle!
Anyway, between us we have been making this jam for years. It gets rave reviews from everyone who tries it and it is so simple and quick to make although I must credit the Goddess that is Delia as the recipe is hers!
ingredients (for approx 9-10lbs)
- 3lb blackcurrants with the stalks picked off and washed
- 1.5 pints water
- 3lb 12oz sugar
- Put the oven on to a medium heat. Sterilise enough jars for about 10lbs of jam. I put them in the dishwasher and then stick them in the oven.
- Measure the sugar and put it in the oven to warm it through.
- Put a couple of plates in the freezer (seriously – trust me!).
- Put the blackcurrants and water into a large pot and slowly simmer until the fruit is tender. You want to try and keep some of the fruit whole.
- Tip in the warm sugar and stir it in gently until it has all dissolved. Coat the back of the spoon and you will be able to see if the sugar has not dissolved.
- Once all the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat as high as it will go and boil the jam rapidly for 10 minutes.
- Get a plate out of the freezer and spoon some of the jam onto it. When the jam is cool, push it with your finger and if a crinkly skin has formed, it has set. If not, boil again for 5 minutes and keep doing the set test.
- Remove jars from the oven (remembering to wear oven gloves – just giving you the benefit of my personal experience) and I use a ladel to fill a measuring jug which makes it easier to pour the jam into the jars.
- Tighten the lids and leave to cool. Depending what type of worktop you have place the jars on a wooden chopping board if you have one. Granite, slate or stone might cause the jars to crack.
Two important points to remember. First, scoop some jam into a little ramekin so you can try some on toast or with creamed rice for your supper. Secondly, make sure you keep a Mr Mac (or equivalent) handy so when, in the middle of the night, the lids start to pop, you can send him downstairs to check it is not a burglar!