To prepare blackcurrants, gently wash them and remove any large stalks or brown leaves, but leave in any green leaves as they are very flavoursome and will add lots more depth to the jam.
Makes 7 x 220g jars
- 1.2kg blackcurrants (you can include the leaves
if you have some)
- 700g caster sugar
- 200g whole almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 vanilla pod, cut in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
- juice of 1 lemon
Gently strain off any excess water and put the blackcurrants and any of their leaves (roughly torn) in a heavy-based saucepan with the scraped vanilla pod and seeds. Set over a low heat and cook until the fruit starts to break down, then add the sugar, almonds and lemon juice and slowly bring to the boil. Cook for about 8 minutes or until the jam reaches setting point, 105°C/220°F on a sugar thermometer. Because blackcurrants are high in pectin this jam doesn’t take long to cook so keep an eye on it. Pour into warm sterilised jars and seal immediately. Store in a cool dark place.
Acidic and tart blackcurrants go really well with anything creamy so I suggest pairing this with a thick ewes’ milk yogurt for a quick pudding or using it at the bottom of a Bakewell tart served with Jersey cream.
I don’t really like to combine fruit together in jams but if you feel that straight-up blackcurrant is a bit intense, try cooking with rhubarb, which will soften the flavour a little, using a proportion of half and half.
Innovative chef Lillie O’Brien is founder of London Borough of Jam, the capital’s only shop dedicated entirely to jam.
Recipes and photographs are from Five Seasons of Jam by Lillie O’Brien, with photography by Elena Heatherwick, published by Kyle Books, RRP £20.