In the Food Forest
I made some White Currant Jelly and took it to the Farmers Market. A lot of people ask me what it tastes like. I have a hard time describing it...I am not a supertaster (a person that experiences the sense of taste with great intensity). I found the following description from specialtyproduce.com:
a floral aroma and flavors of sour cherry,
kiwi, Muscat grape and a lingering residual sugar
This seems like a complicated description but maybe this is what I should tell people from now on...
Anyway, I had an idea for a different blog post today but felt that currants was a more timely topic. I just finished picking the white currants and now I am picking the black currants. I was able to pick 4 gallons of white currants off one bush! They are really small berries too! I was really impressed with the production! I don't think I need anymore white currant bushes but I did propagate some of my black currants and I have 2 more bushes growing in the food forest.
|White currants growing in bunches|
I also have a golden currant bush and it put on a few berries this year for the first time but there was not really enough to make anything with them. I think I also have a red currant bush but it has not produced any fruit yet.
For some reason, I have always been fascinated with currants. There were some wild currant bushes that grew in the hedge row at the home where I grew up. They are still there. I just thought it was so neat that these berries were just growing there and we did not cultivate them but could enjoy the free food.
I knew that I always wanted to have some currant bushes in our food forest. I bought some from the University of Idaho Pitkin Forest Nursery when we moved to the farm 4 years ago. The U of I Fall plant sale will start September 1. They have some amazing resources on their website about Idaho native plants. I am almost positive that they will ship trees/bushes. I ordered some oak trees during the pandemic shut down last year and they came in the mail. They do not list white currants on their website so now I am trying to remember where I bought mine from...hmmm...probably a local plant nursery.
Currants are part of the Ribes family and are related to gooseberries. Contrary to popular belief, zante currants, are just tiny raisins and nothing like actual currants. Currants can taste tart. Red and black currant varieties are generally considered to be too strong and tart for fresh eating. The white currants are the sweetest and may be eaten fresh. All fresh currants can be used just like other berries. They can be baked into quick bread or muffins, ice cream, sorbet, or used in pie filling with other fruits. Since both black and red currants contain a lot of natural pectin, you can use them to make the most delicious jams and jellies with only sugar as the other ingredient.
Black currants are also delicious with game meat, and often cooked into a simple sauce that's paired with duck or venison. Freshly picked berries have a short shelf life so they need to be used right away. This might be one reason you don't really see currants in the grocery store. It is really easy to freeze them and pull out to use later. They can also be dehydrated and used in baking.
Give currants a try! I think that some black currant lemonade will be making a debut at the Farmers Market soon...
Have an eggcellent day!
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