Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Eating Vermont Part 6: Red Currants



You're probably familiar with the joke about what you call someone who only speaks one language (answer: American). But you may not know that the same construct could very well apply to our knowledge of berries.

A friend from Newfoundland recently recited her favorite local ribes and brambles, and I was amazed at how few I had heard of, let alone eaten. For instance, bakeapples and partridgeberries. See here for a related blog post and article, as well as the most Newfoundlandy sentence I can imagine:

"Pack a mug-up of bread and tea, and spend a day in the bogs and barrens."

Also of note is the etymology of the bakeapple, which originated with a French fur trapper asking "what is this berry called?" or "baie qu'appelle?"

Growing up post-industrialized food but pre-delicious revolution, all we had were blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and on Thanksgiving, "cranberries" (in a diabetes inducing cylindrical mold still bearing the imprint of the can).

Thankfully, we're now seeing the return of such delights as gooseberries, black raspberries and currants at many local Far Mar's here in Mass and around the country. I scored these red currants from an incredibly productive bush at the Dunbar's dairy farm in Craftsbury, VT. Though tart, I'm told they make excellent sauces, jams, and wine. I was content to simply eat them off the bush, wincing only slightly.

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30 comments:

Karen B said...

mmmmm. we had red currants at the end of our meal at chez panisse. i think they had sugar on them. delicious

Brendan said...

Currannts are great for preserves and baking and such. As I recall, they've got tons of pectin, so they're a natural for "Certo-free" jam recipes.

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