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The Best Black Currant Jelly

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Black currant jelly is a delight, one of the most flavorful homemade jellies you could possibly make.

overhead view of a vintage spoon lifting blackcurrant jelly out of a jar.

Make the most of the short black currant season! Start with this fabulous black currant jelly, or try our Black Currant Jam. Then, you should definitely try one of our most popular summer recipes, this delicious Black Currant Cake made with only six ingredients. Or make Red Currant Jelly.

 Reasons to make black currant jelly

  • Summer produce: Make the most of it. Black currants are not easy to buy, but if you have currant bushes in the garden, do make the most of them.
  • Amount: You can make as much jelly as you want and easily adjust the sugar you need depending on how much juice you have after cooking the berries.
  • Flavor: This is one of my favorite jams or jellies, a delicious jam bursting with flavor; few other berries can keep up with it in terms of flavor.
  • No need to tediously remove the stems.
  • No pectin is required. Black currants are rich in natural pectin, making the mixture jelly after only a few minutes of boiling with sugar.

No straining required

The advice when making jelly is to strain the juice slowly through a jelly bag or cheesecloth; otherwise, you won’t get a clear jelly. I never bother; I don’t have the time or patience for it.

The good news is that it will not matter at all in this case: the mixture is black, and you will never be able to see if it’s cloudy or not, so just save yourself the trouble.

The second good news: If you push the cooked berries through a fine sieve, you will have a more significant yield, so there’s another reason to do it.

Only two simple ingredients

bowls of sugar, black currants and jug of water.

Black currants:

  • They are usually not easy to buy; if you are lucky, you might find them at the farmer’s market. Otherwise, if you have the possibility, plant a bush in the garden.

Sugar:

  • It depends on how much fruit juice you have after straining it.
  • Although I usually prefer a less sweet jam or jelly, I would not skip much on sugar in this recipe; the sugar is needed to balance the tartness of the berries.
  • Rest assured that the currants have enough flavor to shine through regardless of the high sugar amount.

Step-by-step instructions

  • Cook berries: Wash them in a sieve (1); there is no need to remove the stems. Place them in a large pot and add the water (2).
collage of two pictures of black currants in a sieve and then in a pot.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes until soft (3).
  • Push through a fine-mesh sieve into a wide pot. Press down with the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible (4).
collage of two pictures of cooking and straining berries for making jelly.
  • Measure the juice you’ve extracted and return it to the pot.
  • Measure the same amount of sugar and add it to the pot. In my case, I had 680 g/ 24 oz juice, so I added 680 g/ 24 oz sugar (5).
  • Boil: Bring to a boil on high heat while stirring very often.
    • Once it comes to a full rolling boil, cook the black currant jelly for 5 minutes, constantly stirring, until it reaches about 104°C/ 220°F (or 102°C/ 216°F for an altitude of approximately 300 m/ 1000 feet or more) (6).
  • Remove any scum that has formed during cooking using a slotted spoon.
  • Transfer the jelly to the sterilized jars and seal.
collag of two pictures of adding sugar to fruit and cooking jam.

How to check if the jelly is set?

With a thermometer

Consider the altitude, it influences the setting point:

  • Sea level – 104° C/ 220° F
  • 300 m/ 1000 feet – 102° C/ 216° F
  • 900 m/ 3000 feet – 101° C/ 214° F
  • 1200 m/ 4000 feet – 100° C/ 212° F
  • 1500 m/ 5000 feet – 99° C/ 211° F
  • 1800 m/ 6000 feet – 98° C/ 209° F
  •  2100 m/ 7000 feet – 97° C/ 207° F

Without a thermometer

  • Place a small plate in the freezer before you start with the recipe.
  • Once you’ve boiled the mixture for the required time, remove the pot from the heat. Drop about ½ teaspoon jelly on the chilled plate and wait 1-2 minutes. Push with the finger into the jelly; if you can make a trace through it, it’s done. If the liquid fills the trace again, give it another 1 or 2 minutes, then check again (7).
checking the jelly's setting point on a chilled plate.

Expert tips

  • Cooking time: The black currant jelly cooked after this method only needs 4-5 minutes to reach the setting point. If you reduce the sugar, it will take a bit longer, so make sure to check.
  • Pot: Use a wide pot for cooking the jelly; the large surface helps the mixture set faster. My pot has a diameter of 25 cm/ 10 inches. If your pot has a smaller diameter, you might need to add a few minutes to the cooking time.
  • Canning jam is an American thing. I’ve lived in several countries in Europe, and I’ve never heard of anybody canning jam; I’ve never even read about it in books written by European cooks. If it’s low in sugar, people will refrigerate or freeze the jam, but still not can it. However, if you are worried, do can the jam in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  • Time to set completely: The mixture will need about 24 hours to set firmly, so don’t worry about it; if it still looks very liquid after just a few hours, wait until the next day.
overhead view of glossy jelly made with black currants.

Recipe FAQ

Can I use less sugar?

You can. Measure the juice. Add about ¾ sugar of that amount.
However, if you reduce the sugar, the jelly will need a bit longer to set; make sure to check.

How to sterilize jam jars?

Wash the jars and lids.
Sterilize jars: Place them on a baking sheet and sterilize them in the preheated oven at 130°C/ 275°F for 20 minutes.
Sterilize lids: Boil them in a pot of water for 5 minutes.

Do I have to can it?

Can in the water bath canner for 10 minutes. See Expert Tips.

How to store it?

Refrigerate, freeze, or keep it in a dark, cool place. It will keep for at least one year.

How to use it?

  • Enjoy it for breakfast on toast, bread, or fresh rolls.
  • Make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  • Stir into yogurt or quark.
  • Use it to glaze fruit tarts or to fill cakes.
  • Make cookies like the Spitzbuben or the Thumbprint Cookies.
  • Serve with cheese and crackers.
  • Use the homemade blackcurrant jelly to make a sauce for pork chops or duck breast.
small jar of black currant jelly with many leaves around it.

More black currant recipes

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small jar of black currant jelly with many leaves around it.

The Best Black Currant Jelly

Black currant jelly is a delight, one of the most flavorful homemade jellies you could possibly make.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Preserves and Canning Recipes
Cuisine: English, German
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 3 small jars
Calories: 1030kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • 1 Pot
  • 1 Large pot ca 25 cm/ 10-inch diameter
  • 1 Fine mesh sieve

Ingredients 

  • 750 g black currant 1.6 lb, Note 1
  • 500 ml water 2 cups, Note 1
  • about 680 g granulated sugar Note 2

Instructions

  • Cook black currants: Wash them in a sieve; there is no need to remove the stems. Place them in a pot (Note 3) and add the water. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes until soft.
  • Push through a fine-mesh sieve into a wide pot. Press down with the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible.
  • Juice-sugar ratio: Measure the juice you’ve extracted and return it to the pot. Measure the same amount of sugar and add it to the pot as well. In my case, I had 680 g/ 24 oz juice, so I added 680 g/ 24 oz sugar.
  • Boil: Bring to a boil while stirring very often. Once it comes to a rolling boil, cook it for 5 minutes, constantly stirring, until the jelly reaches about 104°C/ 220°F (See Altitude chart – Note 4).
    Push with the finger into the jelly; if you can make a trace through it, it’s done. If the liquid fills the trace again, give it another 1 or 2 minutes, then check again.
  • Remove any scum that has formed during cooking using a slotted spoon.
  • Transfer the jelly to the sterilized jars (Notes 5,6) and seal (Note 7).

Notes

  1. Use as many black currants as you have and adjust the water and sugar accordingly. The water should barely cover the berries, don’t use the double amount of water for the double quantity of berries.
  2. Measure the juice obtained after cooking and pushing the berries through a sieve, and use the same amount of sugar. If you use less sugar (about ¾), you might need to add a few more minutes to the cooking time. Make sure to make the test.
  3. Use a wide pot for cooking the jelly; the large surface helps the mixture set faster. My pot has a diameter of 25 cm/ 10 inches. If your pot has a smaller diameter, you might need to add a few minutes to the cooking time.
  4. Altitude chart:
  • Sea level – 104° C/ 220° F
  • 300 m/ 1000 feet – 102° C/ 216° F
  • 900 m/ 3000 feet – 101° C/ 214° F
  • 1200 m/ 4000 feet – 100° C/ 212° F
  • 1500 m/ 5000 feet – 99° C/ 211° F
  • 1800 m/ 6000 feet – 98° C/ 209° F
  • 2100 m/ 7000 feet – 97° C/ 207° F
 
5. Sterilize jars: Wash them. Place the jars on a baking sheet and sterilize them in the preheated oven at 130°C/ 275°F for 20 minutes.
6. Sterilize lids: Wash them and boil them in a pot of water for 5 minutes.
7. If desired, can the jelly in the water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1jar | Calories: 1030kcal | Carbohydrates: 264g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 16mg | Potassium: 810mg | Sugar: 226g | Vitamin A: 575IU | Vitamin C: 453mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @adinabeck or tag #WhereIsMySpoon!

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Recipe Rating




larry

Monday 25th of July 2022

I made about 5 quarts of black current jelly plus Granny Smith apples [for added pectin], put in about 3/4 the weight of the syrup in sugar, followed boiling instructions and the jelly never set. Now I have about 5 quarts of black current/apple syrup. Is there a way you can describe with some instructions I can reprocess and get a gel? I have failed at this many times, and have never gotten the currents to gel.

larry

Thursday 28th of July 2022

@Adina, thanks for the response. I will try more sugar.

Adina

Monday 25th of July 2022

I use sugar in a 1:1 ratio, I've never used less for this recipe. If you use less sugar it will take longer for the jelly to set. Setting also depends on the width of the pot. It's important to check if the jelly is set before stopping the cooking process. You can try to save it by adding the missing sugar and cooking it until the jelly test works.

Angela

Thursday 21st of July 2022

Turned out lovely. Will try it with whitecurrants too.