You don’t need a farm house kitchen for this recipe. It’s simple, quick and in about an hour you’ll feel like you’ve been making homemade preserves your whole life. You’ll have wonderful homemade jam for yourself and your family and the best last minute gift ever. There’s nothing like a gift you made yourself from fruit grown on the farm and best of all, it’s the finest jam you ever tasted.
Unlike many soft fruits, Black Currants have a high amount of pectin and so don’t need to add any processed pectin. This is a low sugar recipe compared to most but I find it just the right balance.
Greg’s currants are placed into the freezer truck right in the field as they come off the bushes. They’re unprocessed and unwashed (no problem because we don’t spray them). These are the next best thing to you picking them off the bush yourself.
Makes roughly 6 x 8 oz jars
(For large batches, I usually triple this recipe. Any multiple will work)
Place a small plate in the freezer*
Gently rinse the Black Currants and remove the stems (a few are not a problem, they’re all edible and some say good for your skin).
Place fruit in a heavy saucepan with 2 cups of water. Make sure pan is several inches deeper than the fruit water mixture to allow for some foaming.
Bring slowly to boil, uncovered, stirring to break down fruit into a pulp.
Cook for 10 minutes or until soft.
Turn down the heat to low and add the sugar and lemon juice. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
If desired, add a teaspoon of butter (not margarine) to curtail foaming.
Raise heat back up and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring often.
Boil hard, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, test for jam stage.* Cook longer if needed and test again
Let the jam stand 5 minutes, skimming off any foam with large metal spoon and stirring occasionally to incorporate any floating fruit.
Pour into hot sterilized jars and heat seal (See below).
Method 1- Take the plate out of the freezer. Pour a small quantity of jam (about 1/8 tsp) onto the cold plate and chill it in the freezer for about 30 seconds. If the test jam is firm to the touch and has the texture you want for your batch of jam, then it is done. Remove from heat.
Method 2-Use a candy thermometer and cook to 220° F / 104° C
Run clean mason jars or preserving jelly jars through the rinse cycle of the dishwasher or fill with boiling water and set aside. Dry before use.
Proper method for safe, long lasting preserves:
Use only jars and lids that are designed for preserving such as Ball or Mason.
Run clean jars through the rinse cycle of the dishwasher or fill with boiling water and set aside. Dry before use. If jars are being reused, run them through a complete cycle of the dishwasher first. Do not reuse the inner dome lids.
Immerse the dome lids into simmering water (180° F) according to the package directions. Keep them hot until use.
Fill the hot dry jars, one at a time, with the finished jam or preserves. Inexpensive wide mouth funnels are available where most canning supplies or kitchen items are sold and make the process a lot easier and less messy. A big spoon is necessary with or without the funnel.
Clean the rim of the jar thoroughly with a damp cloth.
Immediately place a hot dome lid onto the filled jar.
Firmly (but not with super strength) screw down a dome lid ring onto the filled and lidded jar.
Allow your jars to cool. You’ll hear the dome lids popping down as they cool. After they’re cooled, press down on each of the dome lids. All that stay down or are already down are properly sealed.
Reheat and try again or refrigerate any jars of jam that did not seal properly.
Remove the dome lid rings. Wipe the jars clean with a warm damp cloth, and store the jam in a cool dark place until ready to use.
Refrigerate after opening.
I love to tie on a square of thin fabric with some rattan for the perfect gift.