Start to Finish: 26 hoursServings: About 6 small jarsDifficulty: Intermediate
The tart taste of black currants -- more similar to huckleberries with less of the natural sweetness found in other shrub berries such as blueberries or blackberries -- means they work well as a jam for both sweet and savory dishes.
Jam and jelly recipes often require pectin, a glutinous fiber found in most fruits. Most don't have enough natural pectin, though, so it's added to jam to help the fruit set. Black currants contain a lot of natural pectin, so you need to add only a small amount.
- 8 cups fresh or fresh frozen black currants with stems removed, cleaned
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons pectin
- 4 cups sugar
Things You'll Need
- Canning jars with lids
- Jar tongs
Step 1: Prepare the Canning Jars
Clean the jars in a water bath. To do this, heat water in your canning pot and place the jars without lids in the water. The water should fully cover the jars. Let the water simmer while you make the jam.
Clean the lids and bands in hot soapy water and dry thoroughly.
Step 2: Make the Jam
For high acid foods like black currants, you should use a boiling water bath canner to make jam. The National Center for Home Food Preservation does not recommend the open kettle method because it allows bacteria and dangerous organisms to remain in the jam, encouraging mold growth and potentially causing food poisoning.
Mix the black currants and water in a pot and simmer on medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
Mash the berries thoroughly. Stir the pectin into the black currants and bring to a boil.
Remove the canning jars from the canner while the fruit cooks and position them so you can quickly add the jam.
Add the sugar, stir to combine and bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Allow it to boil uninterrupted for 1 minute.
Pour the jam into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Wipe the rims, threads and tops of the jars with a damp cloth to clean up any spills before you seal them. Put the lids in place and screw on the bands.
Place the sealed jars back in the canning rack and bring the water in the canner to a boil. Once it reaches a full boil, set a timer for 10 minutes or the length of time dictated by your altitude. When the timer chimes, turn off the heat and allow the jars to sit for 10 minutes.
Remove the jars from the canner and place them on the counter to set.
Step 3: Let the Jam Set
Jam takes about 24 hours to set, regardless of the processing method or storage options.
Jars should sit at room temperature for 24 hours before being stored. You do not need to turn the jars upside down.
- As with all hot foods, use caution when filling the jars. Hot jam can bubble and splash. Move slowly and carefully to protect yourself as you fill jars or containers.
- You must follow certain safety precautions to properly can foods at home.
Jam made in a canning bath and jarred keeps for up to a year in a cool, dark cupboard and for 4 to 6 weeks in the refrigerator after you open it.
Black currants pair well with other fruits and spices.
- Add lemon or lime juice for a citrus black currant jam.
- Combine black currants with red currants, blackberries or cherries to make a tasty combination jam.
- Spices and herbs such as cinnamon, mint and vanilla add subtle flavor to black currant jam.