With bad cold and flu season this winter the issue of high vitamin C preserves became of serious importance. The one preserve we always used to have at home many years ago, was a simple one, made from minced fresh blackcurrants mixed in even proportion with sugar. We made it during the season and kept it in the fridge until the next season crop.
We are fortunate enough to have an exceptionally good greengrocer in our area. They were getting for me frozen berries which is hard to find in supermarkets, especially sour cherries and black currants. Now, with the relocation to the new, larger store, I did not even had to order black currants, they are regular stock now in the freezer section.
I make this preserve for us with regular sugar, but for this blog used pure glucose to make it suitable for people who do not tolerate sucrose (the chemical term for regular sugar).
As glucose is less sweet compared to sugar, with 1:1 ratio berries to glucose, blackcurrant preserve retains some tartness from berries and is not as sweet as when sugar is used. There is practically no recipe to write. Only 2 ingredients are used – black currants, fresh or frozen, and the equivalent weight in glucose, which is usually sold under the name of dextrose.
- 300 g black currants, I used frozen
- 300g glucose powder
- thaw berries, if using frozen
- place berries and fructose powder in a bowl of food processor
- process on high, stop several times to scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary
- alternatively you can blend berries first and add glucose later
- process until the thick mixture forms with some larger pieces of berries still there
- transfer the mixture to another, preferably glass bowl, and let it rest until all glucose powder is dissolved, stir occasionally
This process might take several hours in cold environment, you can speed it up by placing the bowl in a warmer environment, either in slightly warm oven or in a larger bowl with warm water. When glucose is fully dissolved, the mixture changes its colour and texture. It becomes more runny and deeper, vibrant colour develops. At this stage the mixture can be jarred and stored refrigerated.
However, if a more fine texture of the preserve is desired, the use of stick blender allows to achieve it. Fully thawed berries take less time to process and dissolve sweetener, both glucose powder or regular sugar. I want to mention another, less obvious use of blackcurrant preserve. One tea spoon of the preserve in a cup/glass with boiling water gives caffeine free aromatic and refreshing drink, which I often use instead of commercial herbal tea. Two tea spoons make the drink pure indulgence.