25 August 2012

How To Use Your Currants


Black, red, and white currants. (photo link)
The following article, titled "How To Use Your Currants," comes from the 1871 Cultivator & Country Gentleman newspaper

Currant Jelly
For currant jelly, gather the currants when fully ripe; wash thoroughly clean from soil, squeeze the juice through a flannel bag, having first poured a teacupful of boiling water upon ten or twelve pounds of fruit. Measure the juice, and to every pint of it add one pound of the best lump sugar. Boil together twenty-five to thirty minutes, skimming off all the froth that rises; (this should go into the vinegar jug, that should sit behind the stove, ready to take in all such things.) When perfectly clear, strain through a jelly strainer or sieve, into cups or tumblers. When it is cold and solid, cut round pieces of white paper, dip them in alcohol and lay over the jelly; then paste stiff brown paper all over the tops of the dishes, and label them, with the date. There is no need of removing the stems for jelly, if the currants are well washed.

Currant Wine
Take fully ripe berries on the stems, put them into the fire and let them become heated through; then press out the juice through a flannel bag. If a quantity of fruit is to be prepared, wash the clothes wringer thoroughly, and put the bag containing a portion of currants, through its rollers. To every gallon of juice add two quarts of hot water and four pounds of white sugar. Mix all together; put into a jug and tie millinet or lace over the mouth to keep out the insects. Set in a warm place to ferment. In a month or six weeks the wine can be corked up. Let it remain in the jug, in the cellar, until April, then pour off the clear liquor, and bottle tightly.

Currant Vinegar
A good article of vinegar can be made from the mash that is left from jelly and wine. Pour boiling water over it but not too much; let it be quite colored with the juice; then to every gallon of it add one quart of molasses; set in the sun to ferment; and in three months, if not sooner, you will have a delicious vinegar.

Spiced Currants
These make a relishing accompaniment to roast meats, etc. Take the stems from five pounds of currants; add to them four pounds of brown sugar, three tablespoonfuls of ground cinnamon, two tablespoonfuls of ground cloves and a pinch of salt; add one pint of vinegar. Boil in a porcelain kettle for one hour; keep in jars tightly covered.

Currant Preserves of Jam
take the currants from the stems and to every pound of them put three-quarters of a pound of white sugar; mash them up with a pestle, and boil for half an hour, skimming well. This is a good substitute for cranberry sauce with poultry.

Dried Currants
Take seven pounds of currants, one pound of sugar, and cook till completely broken up; strain through a colander; boil the juice down to a thick syrup; add the currants that were left in the colander; cook as thick as possible without burning; spread on platters to dry in the hot sun, or an oven not too hot to dry slowly; one day is usually enough for one side; cut up into small squares; turn and dry on the other side. It is deliciously flavorful and agreeable to the mouth of a fevered patient. Lay a small bit on the tongue and let it dissolve, or dissolve it in cold water for a refreshing drink.

Iced Currants
Select large, full bunches of currants; dip them in the white of egg, and then roll in powdered sugar. A very handsome dish for dessert or supper.

Currant Ice
Squeeze out two quarts of currant juice, add it to one pint of cold water and three pounds of white sugar. Put into the freezer and beat into it the whites of three eggs, whipped to a stiff froth; freeze the mixture. This makes an elegant dish for dessert, as it freezes in a pink colored foam, which is very delicious.

Currant Syrup
That three quarts of currant juice and three pounds of white sugar; boil for twenty minutes, and bottle while hot, sealing the corks tightly with a wax made of rosin and tallow. This affords a pleasing beverage when mixed with ice water, and is valuable in the sick room.

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