Homesteading

Honey Currant Jam Recipe • The Prairie Homestead

honey currant jam recipe

Homegrown fruit and I do not have a good relationship.

The apple trees I planted?

Dead within 10 months. 

The blueberry plant?

It didn’t stand a chance.

The raspberry patch?

I get about a cup per summer if I’m lucky.

The strawberries?

Maybe a bowlful on a good year.

It’s not entirely my fault… Wyoming’s growing season isn’t exactly conducive to fruit orchards. I gave up for a while, until I started doing a little research.

What did the old-timers plant around here? Currants.

What can you find still growing around many old prairie farmhouses? Currants.

So currants it is.

honey currant jam recipe

And we got our first substantial fruit harvest in over a decade.

It’s a lesson in going with what naturally wants to work, instead of stubbornly beating your head against the wall repeatedly (I usually have to do the latter for a while– just how I roll.)

Anyway.

I planted a couple currant bushes 2-3 years ago, and they are already loaded with fruit.

They don’t care if I forget to water them, the 70mph winds don’t phase them, and they are one of the first plants to start greening up in early spring.

Dear currants, I LOVE YOU.

If you’ve never had a currant, it’s definitely on the sour side– but with a little sugar or honey, it transforms into a old-fashioned delicacy.

There are a different varieties of currants, but we are growing the black ones right now.

Why? 

Because that’s what the guy at the farmer’s market sold me.

So yeah, not a super compelling reason… but that’s where we are.

honey currant jam recipe

However, any of the varieties will produce berries that you can use in dozens of homestead-style recipes, so I don’t think you can go wrong, regardless of what type you go with.

From what I can tell, red currants are a bit more mild, while black currants have a stronger tart flavor and contain more Vitamin C.

(Interestingly enough, I found out that currants were formerly banned in New York and other parts of the USA because they were thought to carry a disease that effects some varieties of pine trees… Thankfully, the ban has been repealed.)

What Do You Do With Currants?

Currants make delicious jams, jellies, syrups, quick breads, and pies with an old-fashioned twist. They contain a lot of natural pectin, so you don’t technically don’t *have* to add additional pectin to make your jams/jellies set up.

Because they are decidedly tart, they aren’t a fruit that I’d want to eat raw or plain, but with a little sweetener, they have a beautifully bright flavor.

My currants ripened in stages, so I picked the berries as they turned dark purple, removed the stems, washed the fruit, and popped them in the freezer until I had enough to justify making jam.

Honey-Sweetened Currant Jam

If currants naturally contain pectin, why did you still use boxed pectin?

Unfortunately, many of the no-additional-pectin-added jam recipes required white sugar to make the jam set.

I much prefer using honey to sweetened my homemade jams (this is my favorite honey), so to avoid any snafus, I chose to stick with my usual jam technique using Pomona’s Pectin. I’ve been using it for years and it allows me avoid using cupfuls of white sugar as a sweetener (which normally is required to ensure that jams gel properly).

Here’s the currant jam recipe I used– it’s been a hit with the whole family.

honey currant jam recipe

Honey Currant Jam Recipe

  • 4 cups mashed currants (any variety)
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water*
  • 2 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin
  • 1/2 to 1 cup honey (this depends on your taste preferences)

*This ingredient is unique to Pomona’s pectin and is included in the box. Make the water by placing 1/2 teaspoon of the calcium powder into a jar with 1/2 cup water. Shake well. Will last in the refrigerator for many months.

  1. Place the measured fruit into a large pot or saucepan. Add the calcium water.
  2. Place honey into separate bowl and stir in the pectin powder.
  3. Bring the fruit to a full, rolling boil, then add the pectin/honey mixture. Stir well to dissolve the pectin completely. (This is also a good point to do a quick taste test to see if the jam is at a sweetness level you like).
  4. Return mixture to a full, rolling boil and boil for one minute. (A rolling boil means a boil that keeps bubbling away even when you are stirring it vigorously with a spoon.)
  5. Check for gelling (see note below). If achieved, remove the pot from the heat.
  6. If you want to can the jam: Ladle the hot jam into waiting hot jars (you can use 4 oz or 8 oz jars), leaving 1/4-inch of headspace. Affix lids and rings and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes plus 1 additional minute for every 1000 feet you are above sea level.

honey currant jam recipe

How Do I Know if My Jam Has Gelled?

(REMEMBER: Pectin only sets up when it’s cold– don’t expect to see hot jam gelling up!)

Place a small saucer in the freezer before you start your jam making. When you’re ready to test, place 1/2 teaspoon of jam on the saucer and place it back into the freezer. If it is set within a few minutes of being in the freezer, you’re good to go! If it is still runny after several minutes, keep simmering.

If you’re a visual learner, check out my youtube video on jam-making, where I show you how to check the gelling.

honey currant jam recipe

Homemade Currant Jam Kitchen Notes:

  • Homemade currant jam on from-scratch biscuits. Does it get any more homesteader than that?
  • If your jam isn’t gelling after the minute of boiling, it’s OK to boil slightly longer. However, keep in mind that over-boiling the jam will also result in lack of gel, so try to keep the cook time minimal.
  • Resist the urge to double your jam batches. Increasing the quantity can affect how the pectin works and result in un-gelled batches. If you need to make a larger quantity of jam, simply make multiple batches in different pots.
  • If you’d rather not can your jam, you can also just pop it in the fridge and use it within 10 days, OR place it into freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to one year.
  • Wishing you could feel confident enough to can your own jam? I’ve got you covered! I created the Canning Made Easy system that’s the next best thing to having your Great-Grandma in the kitchen with you showing you the ropes.

honey currant jam recipePrint

Honey Currant Jam Recipe

honey currant jam recipe

Honey-Sweetened Currant Jam is an old-fashioned and delicious way to enjoy your garden currants.

  • Author: Jill Winger
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x

Ingredients

  • 4 cups mashed currants (any variety)
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water (*This ingredient is unique to Pomona’s pectin and instructions & materials are included in the box. )
  • 2 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin
  • 1/2 to 1 cup honey (this depends on your taste preferences)

Instructions

  1. Place the measured fruit into a large pot or saucepan. Add the calcium water.
  2. Place honey into separate bowl and stir in the pectin powder.
  3. Bring the fruit to a full, rolling boil, then add the pectin/honey mixture. Stir well to dissolve the pectin completely. (This is also a good point to do a quick taste test to see if the jam is at a sweetness level you like).
  4. Return mixture to a full, rolling boil and boil for one minute. (A rolling boil means a boil that keeps bubbling away even when you are stirring it vigorously with a spoon.)
  5. Check for gelling (see note below). If achieved, remove the pot from the heat.
  6. If you want to can the jam: Ladle the hot jam into waiting hot jars (you can use 4 oz or 8 oz jars), leaving 1/4-inch of headspace. Affix lids and rings and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes plus 1 additional minute for every 1000 feet you are above sea level.

Notes

  • Homemade currant jam on from-scratch biscuits. Does it get any more homesteader than that?
  • If your jam isn’t gelling after the minute of boiling, it’s OK to boil slightly longer. However, keep in mind that over boiling the jam will also result in lack of gel, so try to keep the cook time minimal.
  • Resist the urge to double your jam batches. Increasing the quantity can affect how the pectin works and result in un-gelled batches. If you need to make a larger quantity of jam, simply make multiple batches in different pots.
  • If you’d rather not can your jam, you can also just pop it in the fridge and use it within 10 days, OR place it into freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to one year.
  • Wishing you could feel confident enough to can your own jam? I’ve got you covered! I created the Canning Made Easy system that’s the next best thing to having your Great-Grandma in the kitchen with you showing you the ropes.

Here are a few more of my favorite fruit preservation recipes:

Check out my Homestead Mercantile for all of my favorite homesteading supplies.

Honey-Sweetened Currant Jam

 

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