White currants a-go-go – but what the bloomin’ heck to do with ’em?

I give myself this problem every year. I like white currants; they’re sweeter than their red sisters, less mouth-puckering than their black cousins. You can eat them straight off the bush but, frankly, they’re not so exciting you’d actually want to.

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I have three white currant Blanka bushes. They crop excellently, give me no trouble and even, since I turfed them out of the soil for things I like better, seem happy in pots. They never sulk, quietly produce cute yellow-white berries that gleam like jewels and one – and just the one – little strig is very pleasant to test as they’re being picked.

I like them, but I don’t love them. They are perfectly nice but I seriously don’t know what to do with them. Scouring my books and the internet, no one else does either. Most people either don’t get enough to do much more than eulogise about them as garnishes alongside the red and the black currants, or have so many they can make jam.

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Even the understated little flowers are delightful. I so WANT to love this crop.

Some people use them in summer pudding but this seems wrong because a) the whole point of white currants is that they are like little white pearls – mix them in with stronger colours and everything turns an all-purpose purple and b) summer pudding is the dessert course of Satan.

I really think that the fault lies with me, not my delightful little Blanka jewels. They’re so pretty, I genuinely think these could be an Event. They’re just not. Yet.

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Every year I try something new with them – this year was sorbet. I thought it would be nice to strain some in with my own-recipe-sorbet for flavour and stud the rest with whole berries – forgetting that whole berries would freeze like bullets in the smooth, sweet, white mush. It’s a curious thing – the flavour’s fine but the texture’s really, really weird.

I’ll have another go next year, doing ye olde passing-it-through-a-sieve thing; see if it works any better.

In the meanwhile, if you’re round my place for ice cream, by all means happily go for the vanilla, coconut, rhubarb & ginger, blackcurrant & nepitella or geranium leaf , but if I offer you some lovely white currant sorbet – word to the wise – make your excuses and leave…

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