[NAFEX] Harvesting black currants

Brungardt, Sam (MPCA) Sam.Brungardt at state.mn.us
Wed Jun 30 13:58:48 EDT 2010

Steve, my experience is that black currants do not need their flavor concentrated.  In fact, sometimes I think the flavor would still be strong enough if one were to add some rather mild-tasting fruit juice, such as apple juice. 

I do not have experience with including green or partially ripened fruit when making black currant preserves.  However, with Ribes aureum (buffalo currant, e.g. 'Crandall', which have a milder flavor than black currants) mother always included some green berries with the ripe, to enhance the flavor (give it a bit more tartness) and to increase the pectin content of the juice, from which she made jelly.

Blackcurrant has such a strong flavor that I cannot say what effect including green or partially ripened berries would have on the flavor of the jam or jelly.

Also, my experience using all ripe blackcurrants for jam is that they have more than enough pectin.  My advice is to watch very carefully how long you cook it once it reaches the jelling stage.  I've had some batches jell so hard, the jam was rubbery.  I think I shall try adding some apple juice to the black currants and sugar this summer; I suspect there will still be enough pectin that it will jell fine.

I have not tried it, but I think I'll follow this promising recipe from "Great Canadian Berries: Summer Berries" cookbook by Elizabeth Baird (James Lorimer & Co. Ltd., Publishers, Toronto, 2002):


Black currants will toughten and ruin your jam unless the skins are first tenderized.  A preliminary cooking and an overnight soak should solve this problem nicely.

3 cups  (750 ml) black currants
2 cups (500 ml) water
5 cups (1.25 L) granulated sugar

Combine the currants and water in a saucepan, place over high heat and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Cool and our into a bowl.  Cover and let stand overnight.

The next day, pour the cooked blackcurrants into a preserving kettle, stir in the sugar and bring to a rapid boil over high heat.  Continue boiling for 2 minutes, then skim and remove from the heat.  Stir constantly for 5 minutes, then pour into hot, sterilized jars.

[My advice: Leave 1/4 inch headspace when filling the jars, with a damp cloth wipe the rims clean, top with a sterilized flat, seal with a ring, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes for 1/2 pints or 15 minutes for pints.]

-- Sam Brungardt, St. Paul, Minn.

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of loneroc
Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 12:10 PM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Harvesting black currants

Howdy all,

My Titania black currant looked mostly ripe so I harvested today.  The plant 
was spreading widely so I cut the fruiting branches at ground level and 
figured that the new stems coming along will be the better for it.

Here are my questions:

Can/should I leave the fruit on the stem for a few days so all the fruit 
ripens?  Or do I need to strip the currants off the stem?  I plan to make 
preserves from it. I thought that dehydrating the fruit a bit might 
concentrate flavour?

I know that you want immature fruit in the mix for most jellies but currants 
are very rich in pectin anyway.  Will including the immature fruit decrease 
the quality of the finished product?


Steve Herje, Lone Rock WI USDA zone 3/4 

More information about the nafex mailing list