Johannisbeeren (in German) or Red Currants are a small, tart berry easily found in Western Europe during the summer months and are typically used in jams and baking. This week, I’ll be sharing 4 amazing recipes plus some baking tips all featuring this fun berry… the red currant!
I began taking notice of the German word “Johannisbeeren” at my favorite ice cream cafe in Grafenwoehr, Germany, Pinguino Eis. There was a sign with red berries and Johannisbeeren on it in the pan of the most beautiful dark pink/purple ice cream. I was instantly intrigued.
I ordered a scoop of Johannisbeeren and a scoop of chocolate with fresh sliced strawberries and my world was forever changed and my obsession with learning more about Red Currants began. (Picture below is from my Instagram)
Red Currants are a part of the gooseberry family and are native to the Western part of Europe including Germany. These tart berries were first cultivated in the 17th century in Belgium and Northern France and today can be found growing wild as far East as Asia.
Here in Germany red currants, or Johannisbeeren, are popular in pastries, jams, cakes, pies, tarts and even ice cream. The berries are ready for harvest in mid June until the end of August, but are mostly commonly found in stores in late July/early August. Many of my German friends commented on how they grew up with wild Johannisbeeren bushes in their yards and enjoyed them every summer.
Red Currants have a soft, yet firm skin, juicy center and small seeds. They are very tart by themselves but still have an appealing flavor. They are best when used within the first few days of harvest and when used sweetened in baking or jams.
All this week, I’ll be sharing a different recipe each day featuring red currants beginning with red currant jam and ending the week with a show stopper chocolate & red currant cake. I’ll also be showing you a few tips and tricks I pick up along with the way to help you when you start baking with red currants.
How to Destem Red Currants: So you’ve come home with 1000g of red currants and you want to make jam but you’re looking at this pile of beautiful berries thinking to yourself, “Do I really have to pull each berry off the stem one-by-one?”.
The answer to that question is NO!
It’s much easier and quicker to destem red currants than you might think! Here’s what you’ll need to do…
- Hold one vine of red currants by two fingers at one end.
- Using a regular dinner fork, place the stem between two prongs and gently press down onto the berries pushing them off as the fork moves down.
- The berries will drop off the stem without getting smashed or broken.
- Collect the berries in a measuring cup or bowl.
See? That was easy, right?!
Come back tomorrow… I’ve got a delicious Red Currant Jam recipe for you that’s so simple and so delicious, it will knock your socks off!