Sunday, July 4, 2010

An Abundance of Red Currants

These tart berries are amazingly good fresh off the bush. While looking for a red currant preserves recipe online, we stumbled into the factoid that one mature 4 foot bush can produce 12 pounds of berries in a season. Our bush is about 4 years old, and this is the first year it has really blown our socks off.

Fresh currants can be eaten like grapes. I also started making almond butter and currant sandwiches by spreading almond butter on both pieces of bread and adding a layer of currants, then putting the other side of almond-buttered bread on top. I figured I was saving my child and I the added sugar of jams and jellies, while making a tasty lunch at the same time.

After my online searching for how to best keep these little delicacies, we decided to take them off their stems, boil and mash them, and add plain gelatin. We then put this mixture into jars and put them in the refrigerator. We decided not to strain it before canning it, since we like the texture and whatever fiber these guys have to start with. Online, I also learned that red currants have a bit of pectin in them, and also that making this jelly is an exercise for people with their own bushes, since they are prohibitively expensive otherwise. All of the recipes called for sugar to be added; we skipped this in favor of trying to keep our taste buds a little more pure and our blood sugar a little more stable.

Here it is, after we took most of the berries.  We also had just pruned it away from the house.  What a great bush!
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