Jostaberries are a cross between black currants and two different species of gooseberry, resulting in a delicious firm black fruit on upright plants without thorns. While they can take a long time to pick, the unusually productive bushes produce fruit that’s well worth the effort.
They’re one of the few fruiting plants that does well in shady wet zones, and every year I harvest nearly 10 pounds of fruit off a bush growing on swampy soil under near full shade cover.
They taste more like gooseberries when unripe, and more like black currants when fully ripe, but at either stage they make fabulous, full-flavored jam without the need for added pectin.
The sugar needed will vary based on the ripeness of the fruit and your tastes but, being a sour fruit, this is not a good candidate for a sugar-free jam.
Yields 4 to 6 half-pint jars
Jostaberry Jam Recipe
- :4 cups jostaberries, stemmed
- 2-4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Wash and stem the jostaberries and bring to a simmer in a large pot with 1/4 cup of lime juice.
- After the berries begin to release their juices, add sugar, and cook for a few minutes before tasting to check for sweetness. Add more sugar if needed, and continue to cook until the jam jells on a cold plate or spoon.
- Pour into sterilized half-pint jars with 1/4 inch head space, and process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner.
- Remove the jars from the water with canning tongs, and set to cool overnight on a towel or hot pad.
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