Wednesday 29 June 2011

Three Kinds Of Jam

After ticking one item of my to-do list for this summer and visiting our local PYO Farm last Sunday morning, I spent the whole afternoon in the kitchen, topping and tailing fruit and making jam. 

I made three different kinds, and it was a bit of a learning curve. First was the strawberry jam, and I just followed the recipe that I found on the back of the jam sugar packet. The recipe suggested a ratio of 800g berries to 1kg sugar, but the resulting jam was far too sweet for my liking. You still got the strawberry taste shining through, but I decided I prefer my jam more tart.

So on to gooseberries I moved. For this, I used the same amount of sugar to berries, and also added a splash of elderflower cordial into the mix. The jam turned out okay, but set quite thickly and still tasted way to sugary. 

(During the making of this particular batch I also learned that you have to keep stirring, stirring, stirring constantly while your jam is boiling, otherwise you might end up with an unwanted, but not entirely unpleasant burnt caramel taste to it all....)

I think I finally got lucky with my third attempt, the blackcurrants. For this, I decided to be brave and cooked two parts of fruit with one part sugar. With an addition of star anise, which gave the jam an ever so subtle but interesting additional depth. 

It did not set as thickly as the other two, but it will still not run off my toast. And it has the full-on, slightly sour berry taste that I was hoping for. You can find the very simple recipe below.

(The jam labels in these pictures are courtesy of Free Pretty Things.)

Blackcurrant & Anise Jam
(makes about 4 medium jars)

Need To Have:

1kg blackcurrants
500g preserving sugar
1 star anise

Need To Do:

First, place a saucer or a small plate in your fridge. You will need this later to test if your jam is ready.

Add sugar and blackcurrants to a large saucepan. Tie the star anise up in a piece if cheesecloth and add to the fruit and sugar. 

Over a low heat, stir everything until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for about 10  minutes, stirring constantly. Then take the cold saucer out of the fridge and spoon a bit of jam onto it. Once the jam starts setting, slowly push your finger into it from the side. If the surface throws wrinkles, the jam is ready and should set in the jars. If not, you will need to cook it for a little longer. Test again after 5 more minutes or so. 

Once the jam is at the correct stage for setting, remove the star anise. Ladle the jam into sterilized jars and close the lids tightly. The jam should keep for months in a cool, dark place.


© All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated)



  1. Blackcurrant & star anise. I would never have thought to combine the two. Sounds yummy though and we need more jam... again!

  2. Awesome.
    Great job!
    I love the idea of homemade Jam.

  3. Weißt du wie oft ich mir vornehme Marmelade zu machen!?;)ehm.. aber deine Marmelade sieht großartig aus und die Kombination Schwarze Johannisbeere & Anis klingt einfach verführerisch gut! Danke für das Rezept, vielleicht doch ein Anlass für mich!;) Und danke fürs vorbeischauen bei mir!

    Ganz liebe Grüße

  4. Yum! I'm dying to make some jam- love those labels, too. Thanks for sharing!!

    Ally @ Tiny Wallet Style

  5. Stopped by from Lollipops. Homemade jams are so tasty, and we can have all sorts not readily available at the store. I'd like to invite you to link your recipes at Joy of Desserts. I have linkies on Mondays and Thursdays.

  6. Delicious. Jam making is one of my favorite frustrations. I can never ever get the sweet/tart balance right. And those labels are divine!


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