Freezing currants is a great way to preserve the delicious fruit. Both red currants (Ribes rubrum) and black currants (Ribes nigrum) can be stored in the freezer for between ten and twelve months, as can the white cultivated forms.
Freezing currants: The most important things in a nutshell
To freeze the fruit, you should use only fully ripe, freshly harvested fruit, which you wash together with the panicles in the first step. Then let the currants dry on a kitchen towel. Carefully remove the berries from the panicles and place them individually on a plate or platter. Now freeze them for a few hours on the coldest setting. Finally, transfer the frozen currants to their actual storage containers and return the refrigeration temperature to “normal”.
Freeze only freshly harvested currants
When freezing currants, it is crucial that you use only freshly harvested fruit. Currants spoil quickly, and only the healthiest fruit is worth freezing. The harvest season of currants extends from mid-June to early August. However, the time of harvest also depends on how you want to use the berries later, and how you like them best. The longer the small fruits hang on the bushes, the sweeter they are. However, their natural pectin content decreases over time, so if you want to make jelly or jam from them, it’s better to harvest early. Fully ripe currants are best for freezing. You can recognize this moment by the fact that the berries can be easily plucked from the bush together with the panicles.
Preparing currants: Be careful, they are pressure sensitive
Like most berries, currants, whether red, black or white, are very sensitive to pressure and should be handled with extreme care. Before freezing, wash the fruit thoroughly. Leave the panicles still on the berries for cleaning, so no delicious fruit juice is lost. Wash them thoroughly, but under only a weak stream of water. Then let the currants dry on a kitchen towel. Now you can, by hand or with a fork, gently separate the berries from the panicles.
Freeze berry by berry
To prevent the currants from freezing together into a large clump of fruits when freezing, place the clean, dry fruit individually on a plate or platter. Depending on the size of your icebox, you can also use a tray. It is important that the fruits do not touch each other. Now freeze them for a few hours on the lowest setting. If you have an icebox with a blast freeze program, you can speed up the process. In the last step, take the frozen currants out again and put them in their actual storage containers. Even in the freezer bag or plastic box, they will now no longer stick together. The refrigeration temperature is now set back to “normal”.
Tips for thawing currants
Currants once frozen are no longer suitable for eating raw or as pretty decorations for cakes and desserts. When thawed, they become soft and release their juice. Nevertheless, their wonderful berry flavor remains and you can process the currants into juice, jelly, syrup or delicious compote. To defrost, take out only as many currants as you actually need. Defrosted currants must be consumed quickly, because they can be kept only a few hours.