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currant.jpgTwo years ago, we planted 12 red currant bushes and 12 black currant bushes. Currants are not a well-known berry in the United States because they were banned from commercial cultivation for most of the 20th century. They are legal now and I was eager to have some because I had enjoyed the taste of currants in Europe (which never banned the plant). Red and black currants are not the same as dried zante currants, which are just tiny raisins.

Today I harvested our entire crop of black currants (the red currants are not yet ripe). The whole berries taste bitter, because of the skin. So, I juiced the berries, which produce a gorgeous red juice (only the skin is black). Our 12 bushes yielded a whopping 4 cups of juice! Maybe the plants will produce more fruit next year. I combined the juice with a package of powdered pectin and 4 cups of sugar to make currant jelly. It is sweet and tart and tasty. Tomorrow I will spread the jelly on a sponge cake to make a jelly roll cake.

The next canning class at Kitchen Conservatory is August 2. Yes, we are fully stocked on canning supplies.

We purchased the plants from The Currant Company.


2 Comments for “A Currant Affair”  

  1. connie

    Why were currants banned in the States? I use currant jelly to make a lovely sauce for grilled lamb chops.

  2. Anne

    The commercial cultivation of currants was outlawed by Congress in 1911 because the white pine blister rust disease, which needs both the white pine and currants to complete its cycle, threatened the white pine industry. The law was repealed about ten years ago because new varieties of currant plants are resistant to the disease. The currant jelly you use is probably made in Europe. Currant jelly is essential for cumberland sauce (currant jelly, orange zest, port wine).