Back to school jam

by Kate Young

A recipe from Kate Young, inspired by Enid Blyton’s The Naughtiest Girl in School

Thanks to their many tiny seeds, I’ve always felt that blackcurrants are better when mixed together with other berries—especially ones that are in generous supply in the last weeks of summer and into early autumn.

Currants are naturally high in pectin, so you don’t have to use a preserving sugar for this recipe. Preserving sugar will melt more evenly and there will be less scum to scrape off, but you can use granulated sugar if you have some in the cupboard—this is supposed to be an easy jam/jelly.


500g mix of blackcurrants, redcurrants and blackberries
500g preserving or granulated sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
4 bay leaves


First, put a couple of plates in the freezer. Wash the fruit and tip it into a stainless-steel or enamel saucepan. Stir the sugar through it, add the lemon juice and squash the fruit so it gives off some of its juice. Add the bay leaves.

Bring to a simmer over a low heat. Stir regularly to ensure the jam doesn’t catch on the bottom. Skim any scum from the top as it cooks.

After 20 mins, turn off the heat. Take a plate out of the freezer and put a spoonful of the jam onto it. Count to 10 and push the jam—if it wrinkles, rather than staying liquid, it is ready. If not, put it back over the heat. Once at setting point, pour the jam, along with the bay leaves, into sterilised jars. Store for months or eat as soon as it has cooled down a little on warm bread with butter.

Recipe: Kate Young