Currant Affairs

Whilst not quite as prolific as last year, the redcurrants have fruited well in 2021. I’m not a particular fan of blackcurrants, but the red ones I do like – both to accompany game and with yoghurt for breakfast. The vast number that appear all in one go makes it essential to preserve them and, unless I want a large part of my freezer entirely filled with the things, the answer is bottling. Actually, I like bottled fruit because it’s instant – at least when it comes to serving it. The preparation takes a little while, but redcurrants are an ideal candidate for bottling because they are nice and acidic, so preserve well.

Once picked (quite a time-consuming activity), they have to be stripped from their stalks (I use a fork) and any debris removed. This year, I still had some fruit left in the freezer from pervious harvests, so I bottled that with most of the current currant crop and put about a kilo of raw, fresh fruit in the freezer to use in baking in the coming year.

I simply cook the cleaned fruit with a bit of sugar – no need to add water, it’s juicy enough – then ladle into hot Kilner jars. Once the lids have been screwed down, the jars go into a water bath for about 25 minutes. Seals form once the jars are out and cooling, and the crop can then feed me for the coming year.

Redcurrants are one of my favourite things to grow and preserve – they aren’t particularly demanding in the garden and they bottle easily and successfully. I just wish all my crops were this easy!

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