Black Currant Jelly

A few days ago my daughter came over for a visit. One of our neighbours had offered her a crop of black currants which they did not want. She requested help picking, so off we went. The large bush was heavily laden and we came away with about 6 litres of berries. That was my contribution, half the picking. One evening and part of a following day later and she had transformed most of the berries into black current jelly in my kitchen.

I found the rich colour of the berries and the curves of the apparatus fascinating. I am not sure I have done the syrup-in-pot-under-jelly-bag shots justice, but hopefully you get the idea.

Black gold, jelly bag and jelly bag frame legs


I took pictures at still times in the process – there was low light most of it and motion was not going to work. All the images are hand-held, and ISO levels were ramped up as necessary.

I find it amazing the transformation from berries to a nearly black liquid dripping from a jelly bag and finally to a solid jelly, in a shiny new jar. We have eaten some, and it is terrific – a bit tart which is how I like it and a good strong black currant flavour.

Syrup detail under jelly bag


I won’t recount the recipe, it was adapted from the Joy of Cooking and there are many similar variants out there which I am sure all work well.

Jars cooling from a low angle


To see the images below in large format, click on any thumbnail, navigate with the arrows, and escape to return to this page.


Canon 5Dii:

  • full jam jars with Nikkor-N 24mm/f2.8 lens at ISO200 and 400, 1/13th to 1/250th second, aperture from f2.8 to f4.
  • lids, empty jars and jelly bag shots with Canon 50mm/f1.4 lens at ISO800 and 1250, f1.4, 1/25th to 1/800th second
  • berries cooking with Canon 50mm/f1.4 lens at ISO200, f1.4, 1/30th second

16 thoughts on “Black Currant Jelly

    • Thanks Toad! I like series like this. The everyday activities made a bit more interesting. Though when it comes down to it, I think I would rather have the jelly on toast than on ‘film’.


  1. This brings back lovely memories—when I was a kid my parents always picked wild black currants and my mother made jam. It remains one of my favourites. (I once got daring and tried it as a condiment for garlic sausage—not bad, but I suspect it would go better with other meats.)


    • Glad to prompt a nice memory 🙂 I agree – a non-garlic meat might be a better choice. It might be good with lamb in place of mint jelly, or even in combination.


    • Ha! Well, this is twice for me. I did a recipe post on making Leek Pie in the fall. So, the evidence is that at least twice a year a consort with a hot stove, and at least one of those times its actually to cook something rather than to photograph it. Not bad eh? For a photographer.


  2. great series! I hope your daughter was satisfied with the end-product. My favourite photo is “Syrup detail under jelly bag”


    • She was very satisfied, other than with the quantity. I like that photo too – it was that dark syrup that I was trying to get a decent shot of when I started taking pictures.


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