Can there can ever be too many of the exquisite small red, purple, and blue fruits — all the berries? Unlikely. When there are not enough, they can be mixed with apples (as sauce, pie, etc.) and their flavors will still shine. While they are all wonderful, and fresh is the way to live while they’re in season, for the next few weeks I’ll cover timesaving and preserving innovations for a less celebrated variety, black currants.
BLACK CURRANTS, aka cassis, are a powerful food ally and worth the extra trouble if you can grow your own, or the expense to purchase. Three or four bushes will provide plenty of fruit per person per year. They are relatively slow to pick, generally ripen in two big bursts, and really need cleaning before eating. No matter how careful the picking is, they arrive in the kitchen with a lot of little stems and leaves sticking to them.
Here is the fastest way to clean them I have found:
Put two capacious bowls in the sink and fill with water that is any temperature your hands would like to spend some time in. Set a colander over a third suitable receptacle for draining.
Pour currants into bowl A, to about one third the depth. Set water to slowly run into that bowl. Lift and stir currants a little, and pour off much of the astonishing amount of crud that has started to float up. Keep water gently running in so that debris, but not fruit, keeps exiting with the overflow. When the water is reasonably free of debris, lift handfuls out and drop into the second bowl. When all are transferred, dump bowl A, rinse and refill to start cleaning more currants.
While A is filling, skim the surface of second bowl, then lift fruit out and place into colander to drain. Dump and refill bowl B and repeat the process until you or the harvest are done for the day. It’s not a bad task, it’s more a matter of remembering to do it before bedtime (as things seem to go during July and August). Unwashed cassis keep well in the fridge for a few days if necessary. Once clean and drained, they can be frozen right away, but next week we’ll cover an alternative gustatory delight.
Laurie Goodhart and her husband co-founded and operated two certified organic artisanal goat fromageries, Nettle Meadow in Warrensburg, NY from 1990 to 2005 and Domaine De Courval in Waterville, Quebec from 2006 to 2017. She created and trademarked the multiple award-winning cheese, Kunik. For more about her how her life experience brought her to develop time-saving ways to eat as much nutrient-dense food from her local environment as possible, see this previous post
Goodhart lives in upstate NY and continues her work as a professional artist and avid home gardener. Since 2007 she has devoted most of her studio time to an extensive body of work collected under the concept, Remnants And Residents Of A Lost Sanctuary Of Aphrodite.
Currently, for the month of October 2021, she has 22 paintings of regional moths on their host plants in the online exhibit of the show, Landscapes For Land’s Sake, an annual benefit for the Agricultural Stewardship Association of the Upper Hudson Valley.
A full-size sculpture of a perirranterion as envisioned in Laurie’s paintings, created in collaboration with ceramic artist Stephen Procter is installed on the grounds of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge MA through October 31 2021.
Laurie can be reached through her website, lauriegoodhart.net
I endeavour to live well on a small and sporadic income and to continue to devote my time and energy to authentic, nourishing art and food work. Tips are an important source of income. If it’s something you’re able and inspired to do, be assured that even a tiny amount a month helps cover the basics and is much appreciated.
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