This time last year, I was awash with redcurrants. It was all redcurrant shortbread bars, redcurrant and lemon drizzle cake, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with redcurrants, not to mention redcurrant chutney, redcurrant jam and redcurrant and port jelly.
This year, however, I am without my prolific redcurrant bush and slew of redcurrant treats, having moved house and, sadly, left my garden behind. I did bring cuttings with me though, and these, still in their infancy, have produced a small but perfectly formed crop of three. Alas, ’tis not exactly enough to be making cakes with, but no doubt the plants will get into their fruiting stride in years to come. Meanwhile, thanks to the ancient art of pickling, I still have some of last year’s redcurrants to enjoy.
These are slightly sweet pickles, but still with the inherent tartness of redcurrants. I like to have them ploughman’s style with some mature cheddar, though you could also try adding a few of these to mashed potato or even (as I did last year) make them part of an epic Irish-themed meal. The quantities here can easily be doubled or more if you are blessed with a wealth of redcurrants.
- 150ml rice vinegar
- 75g sugar
- 2 allspice berries
- 3-4cm piece cinnamon stick
- 1 clove
- 275g redcurrants, washed
You’ll also need:
- One or more jars, enough to hold 300ml of pickle, plus non-corrosive, screw-top lids
- First, prepare your jar(s). Turn your oven on to 140C. Wash the jar(s) in hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly, and sterilise, either by boiling in water for 10 minutes and then drying in the oven or just by keeping the jar(s) in the oven for at least 30 minutes. Allow the jar(s) to cool before using. To sterilise the lid(s), dip in boiling water and leave to dry.
- Prepare the pickling liquid by placing the rice vinegar, sugar, allspice, cinnamon and clove in a small, non-reactive saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly and boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- When the pickling liquid had cooled, pack the redcurrants into your jar(s) and strain the liquid over them, to within about 3mm of the top of the jar(s). Seal and store in a cool, dark place for about 4 weeks. Properly sealed, they should keep for up to a year. Enjoy ploughman’s style with mature cheeses or try adding to mashed potato. I suspect these would also be a nice complement to pork or ham.
- You could perhaps try adding some ginger to the pickling spices.
- Enough to fill one 300ml capacity jar