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  • From: "Brungardt, Sam (MPCA)" <>
  • To: North American Fruit Explorers <>
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Harvesting black currants
  • Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2010 12:58:48 -0500

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

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

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-----
[] 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

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