Currant Events

Fruit cage recipes

(Scroll down for recipes)

I have spent the majority of this week competing against a redcurrant bush.

This little bush, tucked away in the back of the fruit cage, has been relentlessly pumping out currants in bucket loads. It feels like as soon as I harvest and turn my back to walk away, thousands more little red gems appear under the leaves.

Now I am never one to complain about abundance in the garden - especially when it’s edible abundance... - but I was at a total loss as to how to keep up with the fruit and avoid wasting the precious bounty.  So when I sat down in the kitchen, basket of currants bursting at the seams, I knew I had to think of a purpose for this fruit - the freshness clock ticking ominously in my head. But all I could come up with was redcurrant jelly and summer pudding.

Summer pudding was automatically off the cards - it has creeped me out since I was little and accidentally poured  gone-off cream on top of one. An irrational repulsion for the pudding has been sitting somewhere deep inside me ever since. I’ll deal with it one day. But not today. As for the redcurrant jelly - well, this only rates a 2 out of 10 on the excitment scale and therefore if I made it my heart wouldn’t be in it (and your heart should ALWAYS be in it). So I was feeling pretty clueless about how to handle my harvest.  
I froze a nice big batch - growing seasons are short here in Yorkshire, so it’s always a good idea to have something up your sleeve for the long cold winter months. And then I hit the internet.

Ever since I watched The Bridge I’ve had a not-so-secret-secret emotional attachment to all things Scandinavian. I spent an obscene amount of money on Scandi woollen sweaters and started spending an inordinate amount of time hanging out in the Nordic Bakery in Marylebone eating cinnamon rolls.

Anyway... I digress.

I gave you this little insight into my Scandi addiction purely so you can understand my excitment upon learning (thanks Google) that redcurrants are a massive deal in Sweden.  And just like Yorkshire, Sweden has a very short growing season and a lot of winter to contend with.

Back before you could pick up Californian orange juice from the supermarket in December, the humble redcurrant was a total God-send for the Swedes.

Packed full of vitamin C (they have 4 times more vitamin C than oranges per gram), redcurrants provided an essentail boost to the immune system. They are also rich in minerals such as magnesium, supporting bone health.

Why they are so important to the Swedish diet isn’t really clear, other than that they thrive in cooler climates and therefore feature in most Swedish gardens, as well as growing wild in the north.

Back in the days before freezers, the currants were made into saft, a kind of cordial/syrup, that was bottled to last through the winter. Harvests were also pickled and made into preserves.

In contemporary Sweden, there is less pickling and preserving going on, but the recurrant remains ever present in the diet in the form of garnishes, jellies, sorbets, smoothies, and of course, everyone still loves saft.

This was all the inspiration I needed to get to work. A great appreciator of all things pickled, I was very taken with the idea of pickling some currants, so this was my first experiment (link to recipe below). I also liked the idea of drinking my vitamin C packed currants. Instead of making a cordial, I experimented on making a fresh summer mocktail. This recipe could also be replicated out of season using some of the redcurrants I have frozen - a good winter source of vitamins.  

Here I am sharing with you four of my favourite redcurrant recipes, so if you are also drowning in jewel-like currants, or even if you are just excited to jump on the redcurrant bandwagon, I hope these ideas will assist. 

My Currant Recipes

Pickled Redcurrants

Currant Compote with Spiced Millet Porridge

Redcurrant Fizz

Currant and Berry Granita