It’s been a while since I posted about a ‘foodie’ gift so thought I’d sneak this little post in about some seasonal fruit and making blackcurrant jam.
Giving someone a jar of jam, marmalade or chutney is an easy way to give an eco-friendly gift. It’s inexpensive, thoughtful (if they like jam of course!) and lovingly homemade. Using a reusable jar is a much better than using single use plastic that cannot be recycled and simple mason jars are really underrated in my opinion. This gift could be a re-purposing of jar that has come from the supermarket, saving on the waste if you don’t mind soaking the label off first or buying jars from places like Wilko or Hobbycraft at a relatively low cost.
Using seasonal fruit that often is bountiful in jams is really satisfying. If the jars are sterilized with boiling water or heated in the oven and then sealed property the contents can last for up to year. You can either batch cook the jam or freeze the fruit for later use. This will mean plenty of jam for a LittleEco.gift when it’s needed.
Tip! If you want to freeze the fruit to make in the future then lay them out flat on a baking tray. When they are frozen they can then be transferred into a reusable freezer box or an eco friendly silicone pouch alternative to plastic freezer bags.
Usually I make strawberry raspberry jams in the early summer months with pick your own but this year those months seemed to have passed by too quickly with the Corronavirus lockdowns. I’ve been ever more grateful for the weekly delivery of our local farm box from Church farm, Ardley. This week, we were delighted to receive some blackcurrants as part of our regular fruit box. These dark purple fragrant berries are actually hard to buy fresh so it a felt like a treat to cook with them.
I’ve recently discovered that the reason they are hard to buy in supermarkets is that 90% of the blackcurrants grown in the UK end up up making Ribena. They are a source in vitamin C making it ideal as a fruit cordial. The tart flavour however, means that lots of sugar need to be added to make them actually edible or made into a drink and hence why they are not always a popular off the shelf supermarket choice as they are not edible as they are. It is best to look out for them in farm shops from the end of July to the middle of August. It is also an eco choice to support these businesses and shop locally where you can too, reducing food air miles and supporting the smaller retailers.
This recipe is really very easy (makes 2 jars).
- 300g blackcurrants, stalks removed
- 250ml water
- 300g granulated sugar (FairTrade if possible)
- 1 lemon
- Put the blackcurrants into a large pan
- Add the water so it just covers the berries
- Cook for 20 mins until the blackcurrant skins start to soften and the water has nearly evaporated
- Add the sugar and juice from the lemon
- Hard boil until the mixture reaches 105oC or the hot jam wrinkles when put on a cold plate from the freezer. This should be around 10 minutes
- Ladle the hot jam into the jars and immediately seal them
Tip! Remember to put the jam thermometer in the pan before hard boiling so it comes to temperature slowly, otherwise it will break.
I added a little fabric top to the jar, a label with the date on it before giving it away as a gift. This recipe makes 2 jars so you can enjoy a jar with with either a scone and tea or with some toast and give the other one away.
Thanks for reading my blog! I’ve found that my food related posts have been the most poplar and liked pages so far. For more Eco gift food inspiration, you can read about Marmalade, Cookies in the jar or making homemade Wimbledon ice lollies.