Homemade blackcurrant jam is the main ingredient of our family’s well-beloved pie crust – grated pie crust. Every year our family makes many jam jars. Two pies can be prepared with one jar. Jam is brewed easily and quickly, and can be stored until next season in pantry. Jam tastes sour and sweet. Sugar content is twice lower than in similar jam recipes.
It is believed that jam as a dessert, is more common in Slavic cuisines. Jam cooking is reduced to simple cooking of fruits, less frequent – vegetables , with sugar or honey adding. There are many exotic types of jam – from flower petals, cones to green nuts. Natural fruit acids and sugar are excellent preservatives. They can help you to keep jam for a long time, even at room temperature.
Usually in our family, we are making three kinds of sweet jam in summer season — cherry jam, apricot jam, and blackcurrant jam. Moreover, if the first two types are prepared with jelly additives, the jam has more liquid consistency. It is perfectly hardened and thickened by itself. It has more jellylike structure, which is perfect for baking cake and cookies. We cook jam from fully ripe blackcurrant berries, with no boiling, which is often used in other types of blackcurrant sweet jam.
In summertime season, blackcurrant berries can be found at any local market. And if there is a summer cottage, you can collect them in buckets. For jam, you need well-ripe berries, dark or almost black color, with pronounced sour-sweet taste and a characteristic smell. These berries contain a lot of ascorbic acid, micronutrients and other vitamins. Blackcurrant is a common ingredient in different herbal and vitamin teas.
How to cook blackcurrant jam?
First of all, you need to wash high-quality and unspoiled ripe blackcurrant berries. Then crush them. After adding sugar, jam is being cooked for a short time – around 5-10 minutes, and poured into sterilized sealed jars. It can be stored until next season.
Choosing blackcurrant berries is an important process. You should always try how they taste – very sour or unripe. Best jam will be made of very ripe berries, which, as my mother says, you can eat directly from bush, without adding any sugar. But here, sugar is needed. Which kind of jam is really good without honey or sugar? By the way, people often say, that honey is much better than sugar. Unfortunately honey doesn’t like heat or high temperature. You can’t say which way is the best one. In addition, from my own experience, its better to seal blackcurrant jam in small jars, max. 0.5 liters, using lids on top.
Ingredients (10-12 jars of 0.5 liter)
- Ripe Blackcurrants Berries 5 kg
- Sugar 2.5 kg
- For obvious reasons, it is necessary to cook blackcurrant jam in right season. First of all, you need to go to a local market, or a countryside area to buy fresh berries. Prepare sugar, wash jars and lids. By the way, jam it is worth cooking when berries are fresh and ripe, just being collected from bush. If they lay in package for a long time – you will feel the fermentation smell. You should also take into consideration a size of cooking pot or bowl, which must be big. It is very tiring to cook jam in two or three steps.
- First – wash all berries. We have an easy way to do it – pour all berries in a huge bowl and wash with cold water. All garbage, remnants of flowers, peduncles, unripe berries will rise to the top. Remove them. Transfer berries to another bowl. Manually sort them out. Throw out spoiled and rotten, remove all petioles, leaves and stems.
- Peeled and washed berries must be crushed. The easiest way to do it is to use a meat grinder. You need to be careful with high-speed blenders. They can grind currant seeds and destroy them. We use meat grinder. Blackcurrant puree is fairy chopped now. Because it has passed through the meat grinder, now it has smooth, thick structure and color.
- Pour berries puree into a plastic or glass bowl. Add white sugar. Usually, when blackcurrant jam is being boiled, add sugar in same proportion as berries weight. Since our jam is oriented more for grated pie crust and I really want it tastes not super sweet. So we add half of sugar. For each kilogram of berries – a half kilogram of sugar.
- Thoroughly mix puree and sugar. Leave for 20-30 minutes to dissolve sugar. After that, pour our mixture into a cooking pot or bowl. Put it on fire and bring to a boil. Stir it often. When white foam appears, and you see our puree bis started to boil – count 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Don’t over boil it! There are a lot of fruit acids and sugar in jam, which perfectly preserve it.
- We usually store jam in 500-550 ml jars with lids. Jars and lids must be washes and sterilized. Gently fill our jars with boiled berries puree, leaving 1 cm gap to the edge of jar’s top. Blackcurrant jam is quite liquid during boiling process, and it may seem that this is not jam at all. I promise that after cooling down, it will be harden. You can spread it on bread grate pie crust. It won’t flow.
- Jam jars can not be wrapped in a blanket. Just leave them on the table until they cool down. Many people claim that it is necessary to turn the jar into blanket just after you seat the lid on it. It’s up to you. After jars are fully cooled down, store them in pantry.
- When you are planning to bake a pie or have an afternoon tea, just take a jar out of pantry and open it. Maybe we make too many cookies using one jar, but it is definitely enough for two big grated pie crusts. And we don’t like to have blackcurrant jam with tea. Only use it for baking needs.
- On next day, you will notice that blackcurrant jam is thicker. When a jar is turned upside down, jam does not flow out of lid. Blackcurrant contains pectins – even more than apples. Pectin helps to make it jellylike. Opened jam jar should be stored in fridge. However, it will not stand there for a long time.
Homemade blackcurrant jam – a dessert and a main component of grated pie crust