Currant Jelly

The first weekend in July is usually the time to make Currant Jelly.  I have one bush in the backyard that produces so many berries I can easily make 12-24 jars.  Tonight I made 12.  I might make a few more tomorrow.

Currants

Making Currant Jelly couldn’t be easier.  I use my largest pot and fill it to the brim with berries – which doesn’t take long if I don’t bother to stem them.  I just pull off clusters and put them in the pot!

Put them over a burner for about an hour until the juice is running out and the berries start to lose their color.  Watch it though!  You’ll have to turn the heat down at some point or they will bubble all over the top of your stove.

Strain the berries through cheese cloth and reserve the juice.

Measure 4 cups of juice into a deep pot.  Boil hard for 5 minutes.  Add 3 cups of sugar and boil hard for another 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 12-20 minutes.  You don’t need pectin, because currants contain so much pectin naturally.

Pour into sterilized jelly jars.  Cap with new lids (old rims are OK).  Screw lids on tightly.  Listen for the popping as the jars cool.

Three Jars of Currant Jelly on the Floor in the Sun


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98 thoughts on “Currant Jelly

  1. I’ve been searching the web for what to make with my currants. I found your recipe and I’m going to make this! Not sure I have enough currants to produce 4 cups –
    Wish me luck!
    Thanks for the recipe.
    What a great site

  2. I’m not really a fan of jelly, I prefer the texture of jam. Do you have an equally simple recipe for jam? My husband and I harvested about 2 quarts of currants from our bush and are looking for a simple recipe since neither of us has jarred or canned before.

  3. Hey Winterwoman, this sounds great! I have two bushes loaded with mountain currants (they are deep purple instead of red) and I was trying to figure out how to make jelly with them. I’ll give it a go. Thanks for the instructions.

  4. 8. I am so thankful that I found this recipe and your blog! The currant jelly was so easy to make and I was happy not to have to use sure-jell!!! I only had 6 cups of currant as my bushes are still young, but I was able to readjust the recipe and measurments of sugar etc.

    Thanks so much, looking to make elderberry jelly/jam, have any ideas?

  5. Got some currants at the farmer’s market Saturday since the birds feasted on mine…made jelly last night and it’s absolutely delicious. I used your stems and all approach – thanks!

  6. OOPS!! I only had about a cup of Black current juice, and didn’t account for the cook time difference. I burnt it! Darn!!
    Oh well there’s always next year, besides, I think the berries were past their prime as most were wrinkled.
    Live and learn.
    By the way I don’t think they would need pectin, it thickened up really fast and I even added about a cup of water in the beginning.

  7. @ jane: hmm… do you need it for a recipe? in checking http://www.epicurious.com/ recipes, I found one that recommended apricot preserves or red currant jelly and another that called for plum preserves or red currant jelly. Be sure to check the international section of your supermarket. Sometimes I find unusual flavors there. For example, our Swedish section carries Lignonberry jams and jellies, because we have a big Swedish population here. That might work in your recipe, too!

  8. My brother planted the currant bushes remembering his childhood on a family friends farm who grew currants. I visited him yesterday and he said “if I pick the currants will you make jelly?”. I said sure. I get a recipe off of the internet. Well, I made 11 1/2 pint jars last night from your recipe and it is delicious! No need to add pectin! What a wonderful fruit and your recipe is as easy as pie! Thank you for sharing!

  9. Was looking for ideas for currants and stumbled across your site 🙂
    I am wondering what you do with all your jelly? My mom used to use currant jelly as a glaze for ham and it was wonderful. I am thinking that it would also be outstanding on turkey or turkey breasts. I am reading your site while I wait for the pulp to release it’s juice…

  10. The jam is fantastic! I found a recipe that used currant jelly and bbq sauce to make a dip and used the “foam” and extra jelly to try it out. I served it with some chicken brats and it was very good! Will have to experiment with other uses. Thanks for the inspiration! Looking forward to following your other adventures 🙂

  11. Oops–I mean jelly! I must be tired from canning the jelly and inhaling the intoxicating aroma of warm berries and sugar!

  12. You don’t boiling water bath your jelly? I’m surprised.
    I didn’t think is was considered safe now days not to BWB your jellies or jams. The jelly looks and sounds great but I think I would have to at least BWB for at least 5 minutes to make it safe.

    • Once, I opened a jar that had mold. That was very disappointing. But usually it is fine. I sterilize the jars and lids before I put the jelly in, and the jelly has been boiling forever… so I just haven’t bothered. Probably should, though. You are right. Though my mama’s old cookbook said nothing about doing that…

  13. @ Debbi
    I’ve never worried about that in all the jams and jellies I’ve made; if you do end up with any mould on the top of the jam it is perfectly safe to skim off the mould and eat the jam or jelly underneath. It keeps for years, too – as long as the jars are sterilised it’ll be pretty much perfect.

  14. How long will the juice stay good? I have had mine about 4 days in the refrigerator and would like to make the jelly. What is the longest it will keep? Thanks, love the info.

  15. Well I did it! I made my first batch of Blackcurrant Jam, and it turned out pretty good. I could have put a bit more sugar,underestimated the tartness of the currants, but all in all, it’s good. I got 9 Mason jars of healthy delicious jam, and the recipe couldn’t be easier.

  16. I am making a batch as I type. The currents came from a tree by the roadside not a bush. I always thought currents grew on a tree.
    Anyway, some of them were red, some were black many of them were shriveled up like little hard raisins. I had to add quite a bit of water as I expected the shriveled ones to absorb a lot of water to reconstitute themselves and I was right. They are swelling up nicely. I think I will have to mash them with a potato masher before I strain them. Well that’s where I’m at right now just waiting for them to cook down.

  17. No! Well, it didn’t jell I used 3 cups of sugar and 4 cups of juice. Still just a bit tart but kinda nice. I tried some and I’m still breathing so…
    When I was a kid me and my brother picked a load of these from a tree in upstate NY and my mom make jelly out of it.
    The berrys are on little stems hanging in clusters on a pinkish flexible stem. You can strip a handful from the main stem very easily. I will try to ID the tree with some of the old timers.
    Meanwhile I’m gonna cook it down again with some Sure Jell. I’ll mention you in my will “Don’t give Jenn a penny” “It’s all her fault.” LOL

  18. OK, Mystery solved. Barb is 100% correct, it’s cholecherry!
    http://www.wildfoods.info/wildfoods/chokecherry.html

    I tried to make it jell as planned but even that extreme measure produced only a heavy syrup, oh well, at least I now have 3 jars of pancake syrup. At least I know it wont kill me.
    BTW, I have some really nice looking mushrooms that pop up every spring I wonder if they are edible? LOL
    Ps, Jenn, I’m really enjoying your blog.

  19. I was trying to make current jelly from some berries I got from a bush at my boyfriends. Unfortunately there was less than 2lbs of berries. What other berries (or other fruit) would you suggest I use to get enough juice to make some jelly?

    • I have heard of Currant-Raspberry jelly… I wonder what would happen if you added juice from apples… I don’t know if after you add juice from other sources if pectin might have to be added?… Good luck!

  20. My passion is black currant (Ribes nigrum).
    I own a small plantation.
    . I make syrup and cold-pressed wine. I will try this recipe myself. Thank you.

  21. Have you ever made sour cherry jelly? The recipe I have says 3 cups of juice to 7 cups of sugar. This seems exorbitant to me. By the way, I use your currant jelly recipe ever year. THanks, it works perfect.

    Ranae

    • Growing up in PA we always had lots of sour cherries and we always made sour cherry jam, not jelly, as well as canned them so we could have cherry pie during the winter. For the jam, we used a box of pectin and sour cherries was always on the list – if you want to try jam!

  22. Thanks for your simple recipe. I picked white and red currents and have pink juice. I am going to make the jelly today. But my juice is not transparent like the jelly in your pictures. It is milky pink. Any idea why? Will see how the jelly turns out later today!
    Ann

  23. first time I’ve ever made jelly since I was eight, and of course, there was an ‘adult’ present (I’m 36)…giving it a go right now…loving not stemming them before.

  24. I made it yesterday with white currants, this year’s and those frozen from last year, as I only have one young bush. I left one small jar out to eat now and water bathed the rest. They went from very light pink to red! Since I’d boiled it all, I can’t understand the change but it is very pretty. I put mine through a Foley food mill rather than cheesecloth. After one run through of the fine mesh, I put it all back in the pot, added more water and boiled again and ran it through a second time adding several cups of juice. By then it was only seeds left in the mill but no apparent skins in the jelly.

  25. @ Ann B.- My grandma always said that when making jelly alow the juice to run thru your jelly bag on its own- never squeeze the cheese cloth or mash in a chiniois because the juice can turn out milky. Maybe that’s what happened? Love the blog btw! It’s good to see someone else using the old style of cooked jam/jelly canning too 🙂 Feel a bit validated cause I always hear I’m not doing it right but I do it the way my grandma taught me and have yet to have any spoilage. Also I grow white currents with my red and they taste a bit more floral. The bushes are as easy to grow as any other- I encourage planting one 🙂

      • Sorry, Al! Each quart of berries yields about one 6-8 oz jar of jelly. I fill my largest soup kettle (6 quarts) with berries and by the time I cook them down and strain the juice, etc, I end up with 6 8-oz jars. Good luck!

  26. My grandparents moved to a farm in Pa in the 1950’s where grandma made currant jelly, among many other foods. When my parents bought a farm about 20 miles away she transplanted some of the currants as well as many other plants from that farm. Mom passed away 25 years ago July 25 and some of the currants are still there. I’ve never made jelly before but I checked the plants today & many berries are red. Though there isn’t a lot of berries there. I will try to mix them with other berries for jelly. I live 20 miles away, for the last 25 years & have rented the property until the last 10 years or so. Happy the plants survived. Will use your recipe & let you know how it turns out. Thanks for the help. Wish I had my grandma’s recipe, she’d be happy to know I used it.
    Thanks Sandy

  27. I have a currant bush that produces an abundant crop each year BUT I have to race the Cedar Waxwings to the harvest. They are unstoppable. In May they ate every bud off one cherry tree. So, I will try your recipe if I can salvage enough from this year’s crop.

  28. Jennifer, your recipe was perfect. I had to make a few adjustments though. I only had 2 cups of berries which boiled down after 1 hour to 1 cup of juice. To that juice I added 1 cup of ‘Berry’ 100% all natural raspberry juice, Juicy Juice brand.(The label said’ Berry’ but pictured raspberries). I boiled for 5 minutes, added 1-1/2 cups sugar (since I halved the recipe), boiled hard for another 5 minutes, and simmered for exactly 12 minutes, then added approximately 2 tbsp. of Certo since I was uncertain there would be enough pectin in the currants to sufficiantly thicken the raspberry juice too. Then I boiled for 1 minute, no longer, as per the instructions on the Certo. I poured the jelly into hot sterilized jars. It made 5 – 4 oz. jars. All sealed properly. I believe it it thickened enough to slice with a knife, so I’m not sure I needed the Certo. Next time I will try it without it. Thank you so much for the recipe.
    More berries are ripening and I will make more. Will try to send some to my son in the Air Force stationed in Guam, before he goes to Afghanistan again, in August.
    Sandra Birtch

  29. I’ve used your recipe for the last couple of years and it works great. Last year we had so many berries that after 12 jars of jelly, we decided to freeze some. They are great sprinkled in pancakes, oatmeal, muffins, and pick any fruit cobbler! This year we only got enough to make 4 cups of juice. I need a lesson on how to cut back the bushes so they will again produce abundantly.

  30. When I make jelly from white currants, it turns red, too — though not as red as the red currant jelly. In addition to several red currant bushes, we have a bunch of volunteer wild black raspberries. They’re flavorful but very seedy. In recent years, I’ve cooked them with the currants to make currant-raspberry jelly. It comes out a dark, dark red and is really delicious. By the way, we also grow gooseberries — a brave undertaking, because the thorns on those babies are vicious! The gooseberries are light green, about the color of green grapes, but when cooked, the jam is a luscious red. Perhaps some chemist could enlighten us — is it the heat? the sugar? the sugar plus the heat? that makes white or light green berries turn red?

  31. Hi, I wanted to make some currant jelly so I went out and bought a big water bath canner. However, you did not mention using a canner at all. Am I reading this correctly? It sounds as if you just poured this into a jar and waited for them to cool.

    • I suppose I SHOULD water bath them. But I’ve never had any trouble just pouring the liquid into sterile jars and capping with lids that I have boiled. Well… actually, I did have ONE jar get moldy. They seal was bad.

  32. As I mentioned on July 4th, I planned to do another batch of currant jelly, and I did today. I used the full recipe this time. Unfortunately this batch did not seem to set up as before. So I guess it will be pancake syrup. It tastes great. I know I didn’t put in enough Certo because of the currant juice to raspberry juice ratio. In a hurry, & also ‘overestimated’ the currants pectin ‘power’. Live & learn. It’s only my 2nd time making jelly. My grandmother provided the homeade jelly until her death in 1995, at the age of 93. I’ve picked all the currants there were left yesterday, can’t wait to try it again next July. Thanks again Jennifer, can’t thank you enough. Now I’m looking for a peach recipe & other fruit jams & jellies, that don’t require the canning process. Don’t own a canner, don’t plan to buy one.

  33. getting ready to make this again this year, thank you for keeping this online since i didn’t get a chance to print it, my mom loved it, I shipped some to her. I have berry fever and can’t wait to do it again. I used sugar in the raw and it worked great!

  34. cloudy jelly is caused by forcing the jelly, per previous comment by someone else, planning on using a funny this year, will be MUCH easier!

    • I set the burner on medium to get it started, then turn down to slower simmer once the juices are out and things are bubbling and steaming. I don’t use a thermometer, so I don’t know the exact temp. Watch it! It will boil over!

      • Thanks-I used medium, but must have been too much. It never got liquidy-just started burning and sticking to the pan. I slightly moved them around to stop the sticking, and turned it down, but still it stuck, so I lost the batch.

  35. Thank you very much for posting this currant jelly recipe! I’ve had bushes with berries for years, but did nothing with them. My husband let me know this year how much he likes currant jelly, so I set off on a search. Your recipe is perfect and so simple! And the jelly? Out of this world delicious! Thanks again!

  36. Found Jennifer Schlick’s recipe for currant jelly last July. It was my first time making jelly. Used it again last week & made approximately 58 oz. of jelly. My mother’s currants will never go to waste again. She passed in 1987. I do wish I had her mother’s recipe for currant jelly, but I suspect it would be very much the same as Jennifer’s. My grandmother was an avid canner, jelly maker, candy maker, baker, wine maker, and more.She wanted to show me all of what she knew when I was young but I wasn’t interested in learning it at the time. I feel so guilty now. I never thought I’d really need or want those skills. I’m glad I let her show me how to crochet. Anyway, you can’t go wrong with jennifer’s currant recipe. Thanks again, Jen!
    Sandra Birtch

  37. I’m just getting started with currants. I’m planning to build a raised bed for a couple of bushes (if that would be enough). I’d like to eventually have enough berries to make 24 jars, give or take, of jelly. Do you think the raised bed idea is a good one? The soil where I live has a lot of clay and plants just don’t grow very well.

    • I have one bush that thrives in clay soil. I could get more jars if I were more careful about about picking. If I had a second bush, I could get 24 jars easy. This year, I cut it WAY back after picking. So I doubt I’ll have enough berries next year.

    • My 2 current bushes absolutely THRIVE and they get no love, no attention, no pruning, no soil amendments. We don’t even so much as LOOK at them and they give us an ample crop each year. I finally starting making jelly from them just this past July. I think the bushes smiled, awakened from their neglect. I’m (semi) committed to a future relationship with them because this jelly is (as it turns out) out of this world!

  38. Jennifer…where were you two years ago??? I ended up making “jam” and hated it because of the seeds. Your recipe sounds so simple and I can’t wait to get started! We have six bushes and they are loaded…I am headed out to pick right now….whatever am I going to do with all that “jelly” lol!!!!!!!!!

  39. Hi Jennifer, I first commented on this post in 2008, the first time I made jelly from the Alpine currant bushes that grow in our back yard. They are native to Alberta and make a purple/black berry.
    The first time worked perfectly then I lost the recipe/website and tried several times with different methods but found my way back to you technique you suggest. With the black currants I always add lemon juice, 1/2 tsp per 2 cups of juice (the amount that I get from 1 gallon of berries) and when I do the second boil, I watch with a candy thermometer unitl it gets just about 220F. One time when I went to 230F I ended up with purple rubber :-).
    Cheers

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