Currant is a tasty, useful and very unpretentious berry. The first mentions of this representative of the Gooseberry family appeared as early as the 15th century, and now there are about two hundred types of currants in the world. But in our region, as a rule, red, black, white and golden currants are grown. Let’s analyze how to keep currants fresh for a long time, and what other storage methods are available.
Currants are collected from the second half of July to the middle of August. In order for it to be stored as long as possible, it is better to harvest in dry weather, pluck together with twigs and transport in wicker baskets or boxes. The container for currants should be low and wide enough so that the berries do not suffocate.
The methods and period of storage of red, black and white currants practically do not differ. Black currants are plucked from the branches, and red and white currants are collected together with the branches. It is denser in structure, but requires no less careful treatment. Therefore, it is worthwhile to dwell in more detail on where to store currants, how it is better and how to do it correctly.
The most important thing about storing currants:
- Fresh currants can be stored for up to 14 days in the freshness zone of the refrigerator.
- With shock freezing in modern freezers, currants will last 9-12 months.
- Grated currants with sugar in a sterile container can be safely stored for about 1 year on the refrigerator shelf.
Methods of storage
Unlike leaves, currant berries are harvested once a year, only some varieties can yield twice. Currants picked in rainy weather are better to eat or process immediately, moisture will spoil them very soon. If the currants are collected correctly, they can be stored as follows:
- fresh in the refrigerator;
- frozen in the freezer;
- pureed with sugar;
- preparations for the winter.
Before storing currants in the freezer or in any other way, they must be prepared:
- cut off the berries from the twigs, simultaneously removing spoiled or bruised ones;
- rinse under a small pressure of running water;
- spread in one layer on a towel until completely dry.
In the fridge
Storing currants in the refrigerator does not require preliminary processing. On the contrary, it is undesirable to wash currants and remove them from the branches.
If the processing of berries is planned in the next two weeks, then at a temperature of 10-12 °C and average humidity, they will not have time to spoil. Therefore, in the freshness zone of the refrigerator, currants have the right place.
It is undesirable to transfer the berries to another container, it is better to simply cover with polyethylene or paper, but ensure air circulation so that the berries do not “suffocate”. Currants should not be mixed (especially if they are black – they are removed without twigs). Berries that have started to spoil must be thrown away.
In the freezer
Freshly frozen currants will last not only until winter, but also much longer. Everything depends on the temperature regime and correct preparation. Before storing currants in the freezer in the winter, they can be left unwashed or rinsed and thoroughly dried.
The berries are scattered on any flat surface covered with cling film and placed in the freezer. After a couple of hours, when the currant freezes, it must be put in a bag with a hermetic fastener.
In a vacuum, at a temperature of 0 °C, currants will be stored for a month and a half, at -2 °C – up to three months. If the temperature drops by 2-3 °C in the freezer, the shelf life of berries will increase by a month. With deep freezing, in all modern freezers, at a temperature of -18 °C, the berry can be stored for 9-12 months.
Currants should be defrosted on the top or middle shelf of the refrigerator. At a temperature of -5 °C, frozen berries will be able to keep their shape.
Fresh currants contain 85% water, and no more than 15% should remain during drying. You can dry it in the microwave, in the oven, in a special dryer for fruits and vegetables, or simply scatter it on a hot day under a canopy in a place with good air circulation. If currants are dried in the oven, the temperature is gradually raised from 40 °C to 70 °C.
Dried currant berries should be stored in a dark, cool place, where the temperature does not exceed 20 °C. They are poured into a cardboard box, glass or plastic container. In such conditions, dried currants will be stored for up to 1 year.
Currants with sugar
One of the best ways to preserve black currants for the winter is to grind them with sugar. Twisted currants without sugar can be frozen, but they will not be stored in a jar, since sugar provides them with storage.
Berries must be prepared – cut off tails, twigs, remove debris, thoroughly wash and dry. Currants are mixed with sugar in a ratio of 1:1 and crushed using a blender or meat grinder. Twisted currants can be additionally rubbed through a sieve – then they will turn out very tender. To store mashed currants with sugar, you need to prepare sterilized jars and lids with twists in advance. Given the fact that currants with sugar are not previously heat treated, maximum sterility must be observed in everything.
Closed jars can be stored for a year in the refrigerator at a temperature of 5-7 °C.
Approximately as long as currants with sugar are stored in cans, they will be able to stay in the freezer. It should be placed in a plastic container or a food bag with a hermetic fastener. Currants mashed with sugar can be defrosted only once, so it is better to divide it into several small portions.
Canning is an excellent way to preserve such a wonderful berry as currant for the winter. Amazing compotes, syrups, jams, jams are prepared from it and closed for the winter and combined with other berries. It is important to remember the coloring properties of this berry, so the lids on the cans should not be made of tin. By the way, currants in syrup can be frozen. To do this, it is enough to prepare the syrup (1 kg of sugar per 1 liter of water), cool it and pour it over the cooled berries. It is convenient to freeze currants in syrup in plastic cups. After freezing, the bottom and edges of the cup should be covered with hot water, then the berries in the syrup will come out easily. Each briquette is wrapped in a plastic bag or food film and again sent to the freezer.