Blackcurrants are used to make the French liqueur cassis; during World War II when oranges were scarce, people were encouraged to grow and eat blackcurrants as they are extremely rich in vitamin C; whole stems can be frozen, then shaken to remove the currants easily.
Season: June to AugustOf all the little sparkly jewels that appear in the height of summer (their season being from June to August), blackcurrants are the richest, with a strong flavour and sharpness that can stand up to sugar. If you like their gutsy, in-your-face flavour, there’s a French company, St Dalfour, that makes a range of jams without sugar, using only concentrated fruit juices – its blackcurrant jam, packed with fruit, is the best I’ve ever tasted. Good bread, creamy butter and superlative jam makes, for my money, one of the simplest yet most luxurious snacks ever invented. Blackcurrants make an excellent purée – for six people just take 8 oz (225 g) of currants and 3 oz (75 g) of caster sugar. First remove the stalks from the currants, then sprinkle them with the sugar in a bowl. Leave to stand for 30 minutes, then you can either sieve them directly back into the bowl or, to make the sieving easier, process them first, then sieve into the bowl. Taste to check that you have added enough sugar, then pour into a jug and chill until you’re ready to serve.
Juicy, jewel-like summer berries encased in a raspberry jelly – what could be more refreshing on a summer’s day when entertaining? Make it in advance and serve it with cream or, for a truly low-fat option, as it is.
Make the most of summer berries with this wonderful classic pudding - just remember to start it the day before! What could be easier? Serve it with plenty of cream...
If you find blackcurrants a bit too strong, or can't track them down, use other fruit such as raspberries or loganberries. Either way, you'll need to eat this within three weeks of making it, but that's no hardship!
A lovely, prepare-ahead dessert that will wow all who eat it.