I will certainly never be running a marathon (or any other race for that matter), but over recent weeks I have been on my own jam making marathon – my ‘jamathon’. The redcurrants, whitecurrants, gooseberries, blackcurrants and jostaberries have all been dripping off the bushes, pouring themselves to the ground on such heavy laden branches.  In response I have been making more jams and jellies than I ever attempted before, but still leaving plenty for the birds to eat. So far I have used about 8 kg of fruit to make jams or jellies and have frozen a similar amount for another time!

I couldn’t find the book where I write my favourite jam and jelly recipes from previous years so I took a quick look online and then made a bit of a guess about the quantities to use.  Because my partner and I don’t particularly like the sweetness of factory produced jam I have always made my own reduced sugar versions.  So, I reduced the proportion of sugar drastically from the recipes I read online.  And then after making the first batches of jam I found my recipe notebook and realised that this year’s jams are ultra low sugar!  So I thought I would share them with you – for those of you who like to be able to taste the fruit more than the sugar. For comparison the BBC recipe for blackcurrant jam uses equal quantities of sugar and fruit and some recipes use more sugar than fruit. 

Low sugar version  Ultra low sugar version
Jostaberry jam
900 grams fruit
1000 grams sugar  
Jostaberry jam
1275 grams fruit
1000 grams sugar  
Blackcurrant jam
900 grams fruit
1000 grams sugar
Blackcurrant jam
1500 grams fruit
1000 grams sugar  

Regarding the method – I just put sufficient water to cover the fruit and then bring it to a rolling boil until it reaches setting point.  However with less sugar it takes more boiling to reach a setting point and you may get less jam as well, having boiled off more liquid. 

I have also made redcurrant jelly and gooseberry jelly, both of which are a fabulous pink colour, I used the conventional amount of sugar to liquid for these – ie 600 ml of liquid to 450 grams of sugar.

Forest gardening principle: whether in abundance or not, harvest only enough.

About Anni Kelsey

I love forest gardens and forest gardening, nature, reading and everything good about being alive. I have written two books - the garden of equal delights (2020) - about the principles and practice of forest gardening; and Edible Perennial Gardening (2014) - about growing perennial vegetables in polycultures, which is basically forest gardening concentrating on the lower layers.
This entry was posted in Forest Gardening, Jams and jellies and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to jamathon

  1. Jonathan says:

    Anni, thanks for an interesting post, a good subject for me, as I’ve always made jam. What is particularly interesting is your use of water in jam-making – I’ve never done that. I usually leave the fruit overnight in the sugar (organic cane sugar) so that the following day it’s well dissolved and imbibed. I’ve found the ideal quantity to use in one go is about 1250g of fruit, and I only use 50% sugar (don’t know where that leaves me on your ultra low sugar scale!). For pectin I use chunks of raw quince with the peel, quantity depending on the expected pectin content of the fruit, maybe just one or two. Results seem to be fine, set but not too much, keeps well, and very tasty.


  2. tonytomeo says:

    Oh, the elderberries also. Native blue elderberries grow wild here. I use them just like black elderberries.

    Liked by 1 person

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