Adding basil with its spicy anise flavour to this strawberry and red currant jam may sound weird but it works, it really does!
Basil is a truly wonderful herb and has such a unique mouth watering aroma which is released at the merest touch, it makes you want to pick it, smell it and eat it.
Strawberries and red currants both make great jams and are ready to pick at the same time in the season. Red currants are bursting with pectin so make a perfect jam partner with the delicious but low in pectin strawberry.
- 1.2 kg smallish strawberries, hulled
- 800g red currants
- 1.7kg granulated sugar
- Juice and finely grated zest of 2 small lemons
- 40g basil leaves, if large roughly chopped
- Put the fruit, sugar, lemon juice and zest into a preserving pan and leave to macerate overnight (this helps dissolve the sugar before boiling and keep the fruit whole in the jam)
- Gently stir the fruit over a medium heat and bring up to the boil.
- Turn up the heat slightly, stir regularly to prevent the jam catching on the bottom of the pan and rapid boil (don't allow the jam to boil over) for 10-15 minutes. Check for setting point after 10 minutes and then every two minutes until reached.
- When setting point has been reached skim the scum (white foam) off the top of the jam.
- Allow the jam to cool slightly before stirring in the basil leaves.
- Using a jam funnel pour the jam into sterilised jars, label and seal.
I still get excited about picking my own fruit for jam making and summer is the perfect time to go and do just that at a local pyo fruit farm. Keeping the colours, fragrance and flavours of summer awake in a jar means you will have plenty to look forward to in the colder months.
After washing the red currants the best way to remove the berries from the stalk is by using a fork. Hold the stalk over a bowl and brush the fork down through the berries – the berries will pop off without getting squashed.
I am using my Mum’s method for this jam, allowing the fruit and sugar to macerate overnight, it helps to dissolve the sugar before the cooking process begins and helps to keep most of the fruit whole in the finished jam.
I wish you could smell this jam bubbling its way to setting point, its filling the kitchen with fruity loveliness!
Using the small leaves from bush basil, it has a wonderful pungent flavour for this batch of strawberry jam, its also known as Greek basil. If you can’t get hold of it, any fresh basil leaves will do, if large just tear or chop them up a little before adding to the jam. And if you are growing basil and its flowering, pop some of the little flowers into the jam for extra flavour and fragrance.
Thank you for calling by today, happy fruit picking and jam making!