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Freezing black currants whole -- what about those little sprigs attached to them?

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I've been harvesting black currants from some canes of a friends. And tucking them away in the freezer for lots of things.

I've been just picking through them to be sure there aren't leaves or anything with the berries before freezing.

But I have a question about these little mini-sprigs attached to each berry. They are very little - a fraction of an inch. Maybe 1/4 inch at most.

But I'm wondering if it's ok to keep those on the berries if you are going to use them whole. Like to throw into a fruit cobbler with other fruit. Or use whole in a savory sauce.

Most of the ones I've frozen already still have these "mini-sprigs" on them. It would be laborious to take them off each berry individually. And impossible once they are frozen.

I know I can cook the berries and put them through a mini sieve to take the skins and sprigs off when I go to use them. Like for a syrup for in sparkling water or on fruit.

But what if I want to use them whole in February. Do I need to take the sprigs off the rest of the ones I'm freezing to have some to use whole later.

Or can I just not worry about it and figure these things are small enough that they won't be a problem in the finished sauce or whatever.

Any thoughts?

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  1. IMO remove before freezing.

    1. It's not harmful to leave them on, but they're definitely not pleasant to eat. Like sticks.

      4 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842

        Even though they're so tiny? I thought maybe they would soften when you cook the sauce or whatever. But you don't think so?

        1. re: karykat

          I left some in my jam last fall. I don't just think so -- I've had to try to excavate them from my teeth - they don't soften when you cook them...they just take on the color of the currants and hide better.

          1. re: sunshine842

            Very helpful. That's exactly what I needed to know.

            Even tho hoping for a different answer.

            Will pick them off the ones I picked today. Thanks much.

            1. re: karykat

              Something to do to distract your mind from the news.

      2. My mom used to grow currents and she always used them whole in her pies. She'd freeze tons every year. It was a major PITA, but I remember as a kid having to sit at the kitchen table and clean all those little tiny stems off. It is essentially impossible to get them off after you freeze them, and you definitely don't want them on in whatever you cook. Good luck!

        1. Thanks for all these recommendations!

          Last night I sat down with a big bowl of currants to take the little ends off. BORING! I was sitting there with a tweezers trying to get them off one by one.

          And I discovered that currants have things at both ends -- the little strigs that are attached to some and then the very pointy ends that are somewhat elongated on some. And are really sharp as needles on some. So then I knew what all the British recipes meant when they said, "top and tail" the currants, which I thought was ridiculous for something that small.

          So I was wondering if the pointy ends needed to be taken off because like I said they are really sharp. Do they soften with cooking?

          There are still currants on the bush so I called the ultimate black currant expert. Greg from CurrantC in New York state. He has kind of commercialized black currants and he sells all kinds of currant products including frozen whole currants. I was wondering what they do to theirs or what they want their customers to do. So I called and just talked with him.

          Greg said you don't need to take the strigs off or the pointy ends which soften. (Although I suppose you can take the strigs off if they bother you. They are much easier to take off than the pointy ends) One way to take the strigs off is to put the currants in a bowl of water. The strigs apparently will come off and flow to the top.

          You can also use the leaves, fresh or dried, as a drink or tea. I will definitely be trying that with my fresh leaves. And apparently the leaves are used to make some kinds of pickles.

          Here's the recipe section of Greg's web site. Many great ideas here for fresh and frozen currants!

          http://www.currantc.com/index.php?sub...

          More currant picking tomorrow!

          3 Replies
          1. re: karykat

            Interesting! I've been seeing lots of fresh currants around. Sometimes a simple phone call can be so much better than a bunch of googling.

            ~TDQ

            1. re: karykat

              maybe Greg is raising a different variety of currants than that which is easily available in my area.

              Because there are no pointy ends on the black currants here, but the stems sure are an unwelcome chewy addition to my jam.

              1. re: sunshine842

                I think you must be right. And Greg seemed to be picking new varieties of things.