Strawberry jam is easy to buy in the shops, but is not a straightforward jam to make at home. The fruit is relatively low in pectin which can make the jam difficult to set. Making strawberry and redcurrant jam is an easy solution.
Redcurrants are not only delicious, they are also high in pectin, providing the solution to runny strawberry jams!
Homemade jam on buttered toast – it is a treat to look forward to. Whilst making jam preserves the fruit , it is most likely this jam will be eaten straight after making!
Watch How To Make Strawberry & Redcurrant Jam
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Strawberries make delicious jam, a famous and wonderfully delicious jam, but the challenge with making jam from strawberries is that the jam can be difficult to set. Combining with redcurrants not only adds to the flavour, but solves the setting problem, as redcurrants naturally contain plenty of pectin that helps the jam to set.
Strawberry and redcurrant jam is made from only three ingredients. The fruit, and in this recipe I opted for rich and dark soft brown sugar. Well, four ingredients if you include the water. The proportions of the ingredients are important, but you can scale the recipe up and down according to how much fruit you have.
I love growing strawberries. They are a hardy plant, the hardest part is keeping the birds away from them when they start to ripen. I think homegrown strawberries have more flavour, but if you are buying from the shops, choose strawberries that are not too ripe, as overripe strawberries don’t set so well.
Redcurrants make an ideal combination with strawberries, as both mature to harvest at mid year. Redcurrants have a sweet and tart flavour that I love, and they are yummy eaten straight from the bush. Not many are needed for this recipe, just enough to help the jam to set.
To prepare the redcurrants I soak them for a few minutes in cold water, before rinsing through. The thing with redcurrants, that can be annoying to some people, is that they contain seeds. To get round this, the redcurrants are cooked to extract their juice, and the first step is removing the redcurrants from their stalks. Switch on the radio to relax as this can take a little time.
Strawberries are much quicker to prepare. Give them a good wash, before chopping into thin slices. Discard any old or bruised parts of the strawberries.
Step 1 is extracting the juice from the redcurrants. Put the redcurrants in a large pan and pour in the measured quantity of water. The water is not discarded later. Bring the pan to the boil over a high heat, stirring to prevent any currants sticking to the base.
After boiling, reduce to a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes, which will result in the redcurrants softening and the juice bursting through the skin.
Remove the juice and use a sieve to strain into a large jug. There will be plenty of juice remaining in the pulp, so give this a firm press using the back of a wooden spoon to force the liquid through the sieve. You will be left with quite a sizeable collection of seeds in the sieve, which is much better there than in the final jam!
Step 2 is making the jam. Add the redcurrant juice to the pan, followed by the strawberries, and finally the soft brown sugar. Put the pan over a high heat and stir vigorously to stop anything sticking, and to help to dissolve the sugar.
The strawberries soften and melt creating a thick syrup like consistency. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. The actual cooking time is difficult to judge, as it varies according to the ripeness of the fruit. However, the redcurrants in this recipe will make the jam set much more easily than plain strawberry jam.
To tell if the jam is ready, pour a few drops of the jam onto a cold plate. Wait a few moments, and then use a spoon to see if the jam has developed a skin. If it has, the jam is ready. If not, cook for a minute or two more and try again.
You may find a brown froth on top of the cooked jam. This is quick to remove by a spoon.
Jam jars and lids should be sterilised. I bake my jam jars for 20 minutes in an oven set to 120 °C, and boil the lids in water for 5 minutes or so.
Whilst everything is still piping hot, pour the jam into the jam jars leaving an air gap of 1.5 cm at the top which helps to form an air tight seal. Wipe away any spills, before immediately closing the jars with a lid, being careful not to burn your hands.
There’s little better than enjoying the jam with homemade bread. Strawberry and redcurrant jam is a delicious way of preserving summer fruit to eat all year round.