The Pickle Of The Crop

Three redcurrants

This year's redcurrants, all three of 'em

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.

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Pickled Redcurrants

Pickled redcurrants

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.

You’ll need:

  • 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

The Steps:

  • 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.

The Variations:

  • You could perhaps try adding some ginger to the pickling spices.

The Results:

  • Enough to fill one 300ml capacity jar
Comments
  • This pickle looks really delicious…worth giving a try. You have a great blog and a great sense of photography. Do visit my blog for unique Asian (especially Indian) recipes! Happy blogging!!

  • Hi Purabi, thanks for stopping by and thanks for the kind words. I’m a big fan of Indian cooking so I’ll have to check out your blog :)

  • Are these anything like gooseberries? I notice in the jar that they have those up and down stripes like gooseberries do. I’d think it was just a different name, but I’m not sure that gooseberries ever turn red. Do you have any idea?

    This pickle sounds like you could do it with a lot of tart fruits, excellent!

  • Hi Ruthie – I suppose they’re like gooseberries insofar as both fruits can be quite tart, but redcurrants are smaller than gooseberries, with thinner skins and the taste is different. Some gooseberries can turn yellowy or red, though mostly when I come across them, they’re green. As for the pickle, I’d certainly be all for giving it a go with other tart fruits.

  • Ah, I feel sad that you’re nearly currantless. We’ve got a neighbour’s bush that leans into our garden and offers up its bounty, which means I’ve redcurranted my family to death already this year! Pickle though, that’s new…

  • Hey there Ruby, not to worry, I’ll get over my currantless situation :) In another few years no doubt I will be awash with currants again and will likely make more pickle when I am!

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