Why would you want to make currant juice?
I can think of a few reasons, one of which is definitely going to show up here shortly.
One, to make currant jelly. Now, I’m a strawberry jam girl, so I don’t make currant jelly, but if you put some currant jelly in front of me, I won’t complain.
Two, to make currant pie. My grandma made a currant chiffon pie that used Dream Whip. I might see if I can natural that up. I wonder if you could use stabilized whip cream to do it.
Three, and this is the doozy, to make currant sorbet. Shocking pink, tangy, and sweet and icy. Perfect for a summer afternoon. And it’s quite easy. That one’s going to show up here soon.
By the way, these are red currants. You know, I’ve never even seen a black currant, though I’ve heard tell of them in weird cookbooks and dark recesses of the intertubes. I’ve got six currant bushes, though five of them tend to be kind of spindly. The spindly ones are up front near the white lilac and the peonies. The big bushy currant is back by the plum trees. And across from the gooseberry bush, said gooseberry bush never going to be a source of recipes here because they’re kind of a pain, and not interesting-tasting enough to me to care. Oh, why are they a pain? Why, thorns of course. The dumb bush is covered in little thorns. Yay.
Currants, however, have none of those horrid protrusions, and they have a unique flavor. They taste just as red as they look, but there’s nothing cloying about them. There’s this added level, almost a smoky kind of depth.
Great. I just described currants as “smoky.” You’re never going to want to try them now.
You don’t want to eat them by the handful off the bush; they’re kind of tart. But turn them into juice and oo la la.
So the second time picking, I spent about an hour here and got most of a big bowl full. Mom has currants at her house too, which I neglected to prune for her this spring. Bad daughter! Strangely, I was still in the currant-picking mood, so I went to her house to get some. In half an hour my bowl was just as full as it had been before.
Her currants are way bigger.
Anyway, enough yapping. If you’re lucky enough to have access to currants, PICK THEM. MAKE JUICE FROM THEM. Then make CURRANT PIE or CURRANT JELLY or CURRANT SORBET from them. Freeze the juice in 1-cup containers, and you can have a taste of summer in the dead of winter, always a plus.
Oh. Any ideas how to get Dream Whip out of the currant chiffon pie?
how to make red currant juice for recipes or freezing
servings: 1 quart currants = 1 cup juice
special equipment: ricer or chinois and pestle, or cheesecloth
I call for straining the juice using a ricer. Well, we call it a ricer. However, when I looked up ricers, I got cylinder-shaped potato ricer things. What I call a ricer is apparently more of a “chinois with pestle.” You can use cheesecloth to squeeze out the juice, but that’s boring and messy. Wouldn’t it be more fun to mush up the currant pulp with a wooden mallet thing? You probably know someone with a ricer like this one. Oh, they never TOLD you they have it. Ask around. Someone, probably an older neighbor, has one and will love to loan it out to get used.
currants, several quarts worth if possible
1. Clean currants by dumping in a sink full of cold water. Pull them out by the handful, rinse under running water, and toss into a large pan. You can go as small as a 2-3 quart pan (I used my Calphalon 2.5 quart saucier as a backup). Just remember smaller pan will equal more batches on the stove.
2. Don’t worry about stems. Try to pick out stray leaves and twigs and grass. Eh, ignore that; I’m probably the only one who winds up with freaking tree branches in my bowl of carefully picked currants.
3. When the pan is about half full of currants, put onto the stove on low heat. No, you don’t need to add water. They’re wet enough from the rinsing. Keep on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the currants are releasing their juices and the skins are mainly turning pink. Remember, we aren’t cooking the currants, just sort of nudging them into playing nice.
4. Now for the fun part! Pour the contents of the pan into the ricer. With the pestle, smash the skins about to get the rest of the juice out. As the pan beneath the ricer fills up, transfer the juice to another bowl. Clean the pulp out from the ricer.
4-1/2. Optional extra step: To get a really fine juice, run the currant juice through a fine mesh strainer. Trust me, the ricer worked really well, but there are little bits of pulp (that you’ll hardly notice) still in there. If you want to get fussy, which I did this year, try that.
5. Continue the warming/ricing process until you have loads of currant juice and lots of pretty in pink pulp. Measure it out in 1-cup increments into containers that can be frozen. Why 1-cup increments? Every recipe I know of calls for 1 cup of currant juice. Of course, if you’re making currant jelly, you want 6-1/2 cups, but that’s not my story.
6. Refrigerate the currant juice that you’re going to use within a few days and freeze the rest.
Nutrition information per 1 cup red currant juice: 63 calories; 0.2g fat; 0mg cholesterol; 1mg sodium; 16g carbohydrate; 4.8g fiber; 8.3g sugars; 1.6g protein; 1% vitamin A; 77% vitamin C; 4% calcium; 6% iron