The Small Fruits: Quickly Cleaning Black Currants

Purple, 8 x 10″ hand-colored block print, $65

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.

Block Island Blackberries, 40 x 30″, oil on canvas $2500

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.

Laurie can be reached through her website,


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One Comment Add yours

  1. Jill Levy says:

    Hi Laurie,

    Nice entry today!

    This next week I am away with rehearsals and concerts but after next weekend will have some space, though there is certainly much to do around here. Perhaps when I pay Yarrow and children a visit I could loop down to you for a visit along the way. We just need to determine a good day for everyone.

    Todd is rebounding from his last harsh chemo treatment, thank god, and will only continue with the one that is much more tolerable. I’m greatly relieved for now!

    Love and hugs to all, Jill

    Sent from my iPad



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