I love currants - especially now that the bush we planted a few years ago is giving us crops that keep getting bigger & better every year. The tiny pint containers you can buy at the store are really expensive and rarely organic, so it's nice to have our own organic ones for free. This year's crop of red currants has been amazing! Besides what my littlest guy has plucked off to eat (which has to be half the bush by now), we picked over 8 cups and still have more to harvest tomorrow as you can see here:
With so much to use, I decided to make jelly for the first time this week. I opted to do freezer jelly since it's faster than traditional canning and supposed to have more of the "fresh-picked" flavor. As long as it's properly stored it lasts just as long, so why make more work than necessary? It was pretty easy & fun for the kids to help with:
- After stemming & mashing the currants and then straining out 3 cups of juice, we mixed it with 5 cups of sugar.
- We boiled up 1 package of pectin with 3/4 cup of water and then mixed it with the juice/sugar mixture and then poured it into mason jars.
- Let sit out for 24hrs to "gel" and then freeze for up to 1 yr or refrigerate for up to 3wks.
A taste test confirmed how good this is - very sweet and great for ice cream, sandwiches or straight off the spoon!
It seemed like a waste to toss out the remaining pulp, so I put that in the blender with a little sugar and pureed it up to attempt some fruit leather. I spread that out on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and put in the oven on 140 degrees for a couple of hours until it seemed leathery. The edges were a bit crispy, but a good portion was the right texture so I sliced that part up and put into an airtight container.
Tomorrow we'll pick the last of the harvest and lay them out to freeze on a cookie sheet and then bag up so they can be enjoyed later in various desserts, smoothies and other yummy goodies.
I'm thrilled to see the one berry bush that we've never had fruit on is now displaying some almost ready blackberries:
Not sure if we'll get enough to do any of the above recipes, but at least enough for us to snack on!