I recently went berry picking at our favorite local farm. Not only did I come home with the most delicious blueberries and raspberries, but I also found myself with a pound of black currants. If you’ve never had these little creatures, they are like a cross between a teeny Concord grape and a cranberry. NOT very good for snacking on! They are so tart! I wish I had taken pictures of our faces as we tried them.
I had never picked black currants before. They are hard to come by in my area. Currently in my home state, you can only plant two varieties of black currant and only with a permission in a controlled area. They were completely banned in the early 1900s because they were seen as a threat to the logging industry. Apparently, black currants are thought to help spread white pine blister rust. While this disease doesn’t affect the black currants, it does have a devastating impact on white pines. The two varieties that NH allows are resistant to this disease. So why grow these? Besides being quite delicious in baked goods and jams, they are supposed to have more anti-oxidant properties than blueberries and are said to have 4 times the Vitamin C as oranges. (1) (2) (3)
I had heard of black currant jam, so that would be an easy way to put these little guys to good use. Problem is that last year, I made a ton of jam, so the very last thing I needed was more of it. We just don’t eat enough to clear out what I can make in a summer. I’ve tried, believe me. I’m a big fan of Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Doritos sandwiches in my lunch. Yes, Doritos in my PB & J. Don’t judge!
Anyway… As I searched for black currant recipes I kept coming across Crème de Cassis or black currant liqueur.
The recipe that I used from allrecipes UK/Ireland is super simple…so far. All I did was wash and dry the currants, put them in a sterilized container and pour vodka over them. I’m sure once the mixture is ready for the next step, it will be a bit more complicated. There appears to be a bit of basic math involved, as well as, the whole rest-of-the-world vs United States measurement thing to figure out. I’ll be sure to give you an update in a few months. In the meantime, my lovely, tart black currants are sitting in a cool, dry place soaking up some major alcohol. Sounds like some people I know who tailgate on fall weekends…bah dum bum.