Ever since I watched the Victorian Kitchen Garden DVD I have had a micro obsession with White Currants. No Victorian garden would have been without its White Currant bush and so in my quest to copy the Victorian’s (albeit on a tiny scale) I planted a bush the year before last.
It didn’t do much in its first year. But this year it has produced a good handful of currants. I snipped them off as soon as they were ripe (before the birds could have a go) and this is what I harvested. It’s best to take the whole sprig rather than try to harvest every currant.
Now, the big question is what do you do with them. I don’t have enough to make jam, which seems to be the stock answer for ‘what to do with White Currants’. I must admit I couldn’t find that many recipes online. This Red, White Currant and Cherry Fool sounds quite nice but I don’t have any cherries. Anyone got any other ideas?
The tanginess level of a White Currant is about the same as a Gooseberry so I guess I could try some Gooseberry recipes. Or chuck em in with some of my Strawberries and go for Summer Pudding.
Try the Gin and Tonic Jelly recipe from Nigella Lawson’s Domestic Goddess book. The whitcurrants are only used as decoration but the photograph looks like a delicious grown -up pudding.
The fact that you were inspired by the Victorian Kitchen Garden what about a Victorian recipe ? There is an interesting recipe called Whisky Cordial (using white currants, whisky, ginger, lemon rind and sugar) in Mrs Beeton’s “The Book of Household Management”. You can easily find this recipe by googling, or you can download the whole book as it is apparently no longer copyright restricted. I found a copy on the Project Gutenburg site, which digitises public domain books. They also had a lot of other fascinating old books on cooking, gardening. crafts, etc. that I will have to browse another day.
They make a lovely sauce to go with oily fish esp mackerel or with rich meats like duck and goose.
Simply simmer with sugar to taste. Sieving to remove the seeds is optional
I wouldn’t know what to do with them, either, but they sure are beautiful!
My M-i-L used to beat up an egg white a little, add a bit of sugar, then fold in some whitecurrants and leave it all to dry out a little, and then use it instead of cream with other puds she’d made. But that was in the days before we all became afraid of raw eggs. My whitecurrants are on stream this year for the first time, so I was interested in the answers to your question, and I really like Mark’s suggestion. I’m going to experiment with whitecurrant jelly, too, I wonder if it will be as good as the red one??
No recipe in mind but those photos look luscious!
I’ve used white and red currants as I would use cranberries, and it works well. Quick-bread is good, as is a sauce (for drizzling on other desserts) made from the currants and any other fruit.
I use white currants as I would any other berry. I’ve added them to stewed apple for apple crumble, mixed them with black currants to make jam and baked them into muffins. Enjoy them, they are delicious.
I made redcurrant buns last year when I only had a handful of them – I’m sure you could add white ones instead – just make up a batch of sponge mix, fold in the currants and bake in paper cases. At the time I thought some choc chips would also be a nice adition. I might try that this year.
I would second Rosie’s suggestion and make buns. You could try beetroot cupcakes with whitecurrants to make the most of the beautiful colour. I have found it is better to leave the currants till the very end and press them into the top rather than mix them in. I find currants difficult to know what to do with simply because they look so beautiful, but they do taste rather sour, so need careful handling.
I made the whitecurrant and choc chip into a cake and it worked really well – the sweet of the chocolate against the sour of the berries. I’ve just enough redcurrants picked to make a redcurrant and white choc one but no more after that as the birds have scoffed the rest of the red and white currants. I’ve still got plenty of blackcurrants though.
Crap – my blackcurrants all have a little white worm in them and a nasty bruise on the fruit – the dreaded currant fruit fly. At organic something .info they says theres a safe-ish way to deal with them but next year when the pop out of the ground from dormancy … anyone got any other tips?
I look at how beautiful they are until I can no longer restrain myself, and then eat them just as they are. Until they’re all gone.
I have a recipe for white currant tart, cut from The Observer newspaper a couple of years ago and tried once successfully. The only info on the cutting is email@example.com so hope you can get it via that or from his site as guess it is copyrighted.
For the above recipe from the observer try:
My daughter reckons that once you start eating them you can’t stop!
I have a ton of them and we are going to try and make some kind of jam, apparently when you cook them they turn pink and taste a bit like grapefruit. I’ll let you know!
I have just picked 18lbs whitecurrants and there are still at least another 10lb left to pick (on one bush). I wish the black and redcurrant bushes were so productive. I make whitecurrant jelly with them which is a beautiful pinky colour and good with cold meats or nut roast or lentil burgers etc, also on toast, either on its own or with peanut butter. You make the jelly just like you would redcurrant jelly. Or I’ve mixed them with redcurrants and gooseberries (also for jelly). Apart from that I’ve made compotes with them, mixing them with other fruit (eg gooseberries, other currants, damsons, blackberries), sometimes cooked with a bit of red wine, and once made a whitecurrant tart but it wasn’t that good. This year the bush has lichen all over it and I’m not sure what this means? the end of the bush? If so, I’m not sure I’ll replace it!
Lichen is fine – I actually think it adds to the interest and it looks beautiful in the winter when covered in frost.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
They harbour on the underside of leaves earlier in the season. Simple soap sprays will help or make an infusion of foxglove leaves. Tobacco tea works well too (if you consider what nicotine does to us).
In autumn, be religious about raking away any fallen leaves as the insects migrate from these into the soil where they pupate.
Finally, cultivate under your bushes several times through the season – and quite deeply … say 75mm … as this will destroy the larvae and chrysalises. Make the first of these before the bushes leaf out and repeat. You won’t get all the insects but will reduce the incidence to negligible levels.
They are lovely sprinkled on a salad and last year we made a jelly and it was the better than the redcurrant one. Are bush is producing so much fruit….. spent 2 hours picking one bush!!!!!!
I have a glut of white currants and about to try making jam with them adding few strawberries to give colour and hopefully taste. Will let you know how it works. My bush was a throw away from a garden centre bought home by my granddaughter and set in my garden as hers wasn’t big enough. Hasn’t stopped fruiting since.! I have added them to crumbles and pies quite successfully,
Mark’s sauce sounds nice and easy but how long would it last, can it be frozen?
I use white currants in the same way as red currants. If you cook them with a little water (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan) on the hob with a little sugar (taste the raw berries to find out how much sugar you need – this is a matter of taste ) and then use the resulting sauce as you would red currant sauce. My family like it served with roast lamb or lamb chops.
My bush is now 3 years old and has produced a its best crop yet. I grow it against a fence which faces west.
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Neil mentioned a recipe for whitecurrant jam on 2 Aug 09. Would it be possible to post it on this forum please?
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we have grown red, white and blackcurrants and theres a good crop of each so i was planning on putting all 3 in a pie to make a mixed berry pie