Preserving Cassis (black currant, ribes nigrum), part 2

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

This post picks up where the last one left off, using the ingredients developed there. Here’s the link for reference.

DEHYDRATING, the other choice, has a nice bonus product. After 3 to 5 days at room temperature, the fruit will have shrunk to about ½ the volume of the jar, and the honey will be a lovely syrup. The exact number of days depends on the exact room temperature and your preferred level of sweetness. The more tart juice that’s released from the fruit, the sweeter the fruit becomes.

Pour off the juice into jars or nice bottles. I have kept this syrup in a cabinet for up to five years with no significant change.  It acquires a scent of alcohol, but does not “feel” alcoholic. It can also be stored in the fridge. It has enough fruit juice mixed into the honey now to remain liquid when cold. It’s raw vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, making it a superior substitute for other syrups in all kinds of recipes, in lemonade, or as a cake soak.

A FESTIVE BEVERAGE 

Easy to have the ingredients always on hand for honouring an unexpected occasion with something all can enjoy.

Add, per glass:

1 T of cassis honey syrup (above)

1 tsp rose water, 

Fill with sparkling water, garnish with a few frozen currants, raspberries, or rose petals, and serve.

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DRIED BLACK CURRANTS

Back to dehydrating. Using your own method, dry the honey-drenched fruit only to a soft raisin consistency. As well as sweetening,  the honey will be preventing mold growth.  Also dry fresh unsweetened black currants down to a very hard state. Their skin is so tough that it’s necessary to be sure enough moisture has been removed from the inside to avert spoilage later.

I find the soft-dried, honeyed cassis too sweet and sticky on their own, but the fully dried unsweetened cassis no fun at all.   The solution: mix them in a ratio of about 1 part sweetened to 7 parts unsweetened. After sitting together for a few weeks, the whole bunch becomes homogeneous, gently softened and sweetened.  Still, even though they’re not little pebbles anymore, softly-dried cassis are a fruit to let dissolve slowly in the mouth rather than chew. It’s a revivifying, bright flavor in the middle of the dormant season, or when suffering a cold or flu.

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.

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

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