Friday, July 24, 2009


I was going to weed the garden Wednesday afternoon, really I was. But when I walked over to the chicken coop to feed and water the chickens, what did I see?

Currants! Lovely red ripe currants. Dripping from the branches. The birds had already gotten some, but there were tons left. We planted these eight currant bushes six years ago when we first moved out here. This is the first sizeable harvest we've had. Like with the black raspberries, I am usually too early or too late to pick them ripe.

I only had time to pick a gallon before heading off to work. Last night I put 1/3 of them in a dehydrator, hoping for some dried currants to add to scones or tea. This morning when I checked the dehydrator, most of them had dried but a good portion (about 1/4) were still plump and juicy.

This proves problematic, for if I keep dehydrating, the already dried ones will turn to tiny little rocks. Yet picking out the dried ones and leaving the plump ones would take about three hours to do. Plus the dried ones are sticking to the drying pan.

I decided to leave the dehydrator on until this evening. Then there will be less plump ones to sort out. I'll have to live with the rock hard ones, and soak them in water a bit before I use them in baking. I think the problem lies in the fact that some of the currants are big and some are small. Some have broken skins and some have not. The bigger, unbroken-skinned ones are taking longer to dry.

I hope the currant jam is more successful. If so, that will make six different kinds of jams I've made this summer. Totalling about fifty half-pint jars. And we haven't even hit the wild plums or apples yet. Guess what I'm giving out for Christmas this year!


Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

Are those "Red lake" red currants? Just planted 4 of those early this summer.

Jo said...

Yes, they are. We bought them online from St. Lawrence Nursery in New York. I guess we bought ten, not eight. Right now they are a 8' wide by 15' long by 5' tall mass of foliage. The year we planted them we put down straw mulch and used soaker hoses. After that they were basically maintenance free.

The ones we planted right next to the chicken run are doing the best -- either they get the most sun, or benefit from the extra soil nutrients. The gallon of berries I picked came basically from those four plants.

Karen said...

I'm loving the Christmas present idea!!! Can't wait to sample your goodies!!!