What to do with your bumper harvest of redcurrants: Storage & favourite recipes
You bought the fruit bush, planted it, treated it with loving care, and come harvest time, you have more redcurrants than you know what to do with.
Good thing you're here because we have the best advice on what to do with your glut of this popular soft fruit!
From jams to summer puddings, these are a few of our favourite recipes and how best to harvest and store these juicy nuggets for ultimate longevity.
Like their blackcurrant cousins, redcurrants (ribes rubrum) are woody shrubs grown for their flavoursome berries.
Redcurrants are easy to grow and enjoy a cool climate, so they do well in colder sites and northern regions. They like sun but will also tolerate some shade.
They can be trained into compact shapes and grown in containers, so they are ideal if space is limited.
The attractive glossy fruits have a tangy sweetness, delicious eaten fresh (but quite tart) or cooked to make desserts, jelly or jam.
Redcurrants are high in Vitamin C, K and antioxidants.
Redcurrants are ready to pick from early summer onwards when richly coloured, firm and juicy.
June, July and early August are the best harvest months.
Make sure to choose bunches of fruit where the skin is shiny and there is no unripe fruit.
These are very thin-skinned fruits, making it difficult to pick individual berries without squashing them. Instead, it is easiest to remove a whole truss, strig or string of them from the plant.
What are trusses, you ask? A truss (or strig) is the stem that carries the flowers, which turn into the fruit. These grow from the stem but not from the leaf joint. These side shoots can be cut off but are preferably torn away.
Harvest whole trusses and use them immediately, or store them in the fridge for a few days. Alternatively, place trusses in bags and freeze them for later use.
Once ready for use, the fruit can easily be removed by running a fork down the string of fruit.
Frozen currants are a nice snack straight out of the freezer – eat them right off the stems like tart little grapes.
Use frozen redcurrants in smoothies in combination with blander, sweeter fruit – perhaps apples, pears or bananas.
Frozen berries can also be used in baked goods.
The two top recommended redcurrant varieties are available at UCS Fresh Garden as bushes that are ready to plant.
Redcurrant "Rovada" is renowned for its excellent quality and high yields. This self-fertile, compact shrub produces clusters of pale green flowers in spring, followed in late summer by a bountiful crop of large, juicy, bright redcurrants perfect for food and drink recipes.
Redcurrant "Jonkheer Van Tet" is a low-maintenance redcurrant plant that can be grown in most soil conditions. Bearing heavy crops of sweet-tasting fruit from early July, the berries are perfect for jams and jellies. This plant has been bred to resist disease and produce large crops of juicy fruit early in the season.
Recipes: The Basics
The redcurrant lends itself beautifully to sweet and savoury dishes as a sauce, mashed or used as a whole fruit.
One of the great classic English sauces. It’s always served cold as a wonderful accompaniment to either hot or cold gammon, tongue, cold goose or game, and it goes extremely well with a slice of old-fashioned game pie.
Recipes: Desserts, Cakes, Tarts & Boozy Concoctions
A very simple and rustic cake with a moist centre and a crumbly topping. This summer dessert is easily prepared with fresh currants during the harvesting season or with frozen currants throughout the winter months.
Pile-it-high Raspberry and Redcurrant Cheesecake Tart
Now that you're inspired, why not start growing more soft fruit plants to ensure a variety of freshness, jams, sauces, and Afternoon Tea treats all year round?
Browse the abundance of fruit bushes available at UCS Fresh Garden and place your orders for delivery to your door!