These shiny little berries grow low on bushes, hanging from the branches like rows of miniature gems. Their flavour is a little tart but they’re still sweet enough to be eaten raw, so long as they’re sprinkled with plenty of sugar. They have a high vitamin C content, and go well with both other berries and fruits, such as raspberries, strawberries and melon, as well as goose, venison and lamb (hence the familiar lamb accompaniment, redcurrant jelly). They can also be frosted with egg white and caster sugar and used as a decoration for puddings or cocktails.
See our collection of redcurrant recipes for more ideas.
When are redcurrants in season?
July through to early September.
Choose the best redcurrants
Go for glossy, plump, firm currants. Avoid those that are squashed or mouldy.
How to prepare redcurrants
Wash, then, holding the stalk over a bowl, grip it at one end and sweep a fork down its length, making sure that the stalk runs between the fork’s tines – all the berries should pop off. If you like, you can also remove the little brown tip at the base of each berry (just pinch it off between thumb and forefinger) but it’s a labour-intensive job and doesn’t make a huge difference to the flavour.
How to store redcurrants
In the fridge, for up to three days. Don’t wash them before storing or they’ll go soggy.
How to freeze redcurrants
- Redcurrants come attached to their stems in pretty sprays. It’s best to leave them attached.
- Lift the sprays carefully onto a tray and remove any unripe or damaged berries or leaves.
- Weigh the berries and note the weight.
- Rinse in cold water and dry completely.
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment and arrange the sprays on top in a single layer, then freeze until the berries are frozen solid. Once solid, tip the frozen berries into a freezer bag and expel any excess air before returning to the freezer. Or, carefully put the sprays into a freezer bag or container, packing them loosely so you don’t crush the berries. Close, label with the date and weight and freeze.
- You can remover the redcurrants from their stems while frozen – this is often less messy then doing it when they are fresh.
How to cook redcurrants
Poach (4 mins, or until just starting to burst). Sprinkle with sugar and serve with cream. Use to make sauces, syrups and jams. Add to the fruit mix for summer pudding; use to make mousse or sorbets.
Alternatives to redcurrants