Earlier in the week I told you about my poor gooseberry crop. Well it was not the case with my whitecurrants. I have just the one bush and it was a really good crop. So what to make? Whitecurrant jam of course.
I say of course a bit tongue in cheek, as truth be told, I wasn’t really sure what to make with them. The bush on my allotment was planted because white currants look so pretty. Sweeter than red currants, they are hardly ever offered for sale in shops, so growing my own seemed to be the best option to get these exquisite looking berries. While a few sprigs of whitecurrants look pretty on a pavlova or cake, having such a good crop would have meant baking a lot of cakes. As I don’t have very much freezer space, I googled what to make with them and whitecurrant jam seemed to be the best answer.
Jam or jelly
Making jam in fact seemed to be the only answer. I’m sure that cannot be true and next year I will have to try some other ideas, but I have never had whitecurrant jam before so really fancied giving it a go.
Whitecurrants have a lot of seeds and if you use them whole , the resulting jam would be very seedy and I don’t think very nice. I considered making jelly (similar to redcurrant jelly but sweeter) but that would mean carefully straining the juice to get a clear unclouded jelly and a lower yield, I like my recipes easy!
To make a seedless whitecurrant jam , the fruit is cooked with little water until soft. It is strained through a sieve then placed in a preserving or large saucepan to boil and make the jam. The resulting whitecurrant jam is a beautiful pale peach colour and tastes absolutely delicious. If you can get your hands on some whitecurrants then do give it a try, and if not you could always try making the jam with red or blackcurrants instead.
Step by step whitecurrant jam
- 1 kg whitecurrants
- 1 kg granulated sugar
- small knob butter
- wash the fruit and strip the berries from the stem. Place in a saucepan with 500ml water. Heat gently and cook until the berries are very tender about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Strain through a nylon sieve (see hints, tips and variations) pressing out as much fruit pulp as you can. Discard the seed and skin.
- Place the fruit pulp in preserving pan or large saucepan and add the sugar. Heat gently, stirring frequently until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Once all the sugar has been dissolved bring the mixture to a rolling boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached. See below. This should take about 6–10 minutes.
- Add the butter to the pan and stir to disperse any froth.
- Pour into sterilised jars, cover and seal immediately. Label when cold
To test for set – Chill a couple of saucers before you start. After about 6 minutes boiling turn off the heat. Place a small amount of jam on the chilled saucer and allow to cool for a minute or two. Gently push with your finger tip. If the surface crinkles then setting point is reached. If not return the mixture to the boil and boil again for a further minute or so then test again. Repeat until setting point is reached
To sterilise jar – Wash your jars and the lids in hot soapy water. Rinse and place upside down on a roasting tray while they are still wet. Place in a preheated oven at 160-180ºC for about 10 mins.
Tips, hints and variations
- Most of the recipes for whitecurrant jam on the net were the same, they suggest that there is no need to strip the whitecurrants from the stems before cooking. However I decided I would, it doesn’t take long and I think it makes straining them easier. On testing it works well so I suggest you do the same.
- Straining an acidic fruit through a metal sieve can result in the fruit reacting with the metal and giving the fruit pulp a very unpleasant metallic taste. For this reason most recipes that require straining fruit suggest that you do so through a nylon sieve. My sieve is stainless steel and does not react with the fruit acid but if you are not sure I highly recommend that you get a nylon and save for the purpose.
- Use a course sieve and push as much fruit pulp through the sieve as you can. You should end up with about 1 litre of fruit pulp.
- If you have less fruit than the recipe suggests then you can still make the jam. Measure the resulting fruit pulp in a measuring jug and for each 100ml of pulp add 100g of sugar.
- You can use this method to make redcurrant or blackcurrant jam.