I write this sitting on Miss MBaF’s sickbed (sofa). She’s curled up in her cosy little nest of cushions and blanket, sleeping off a horrid sicky-achey virus, while her restorative film of choice (Finding Nemo) plays at low-volume.
Hopefully her recovery will be as speedy as it set in. On Friday afternoon she was full of beans, asking if we could go to the allotment and pick blackcurrants! This is a job that needed to get done, so I jumped at the suggestion.
My special helper
After digging up and ditching one bush this winter, due to evidence of ‘big bud’
, we’re left with two well-established blackcurrant bushes. The tallest branches have flopped over this year, which Mum suggested may be due to lack of water. This could make sense as they’re surrounded by weedproof matting now, and I wonder if they’re not getting as much of the rainfall as before.
An aside: Mr MBaF asked if I’d put the matting the right way up. I have no idea! Are they ‘one-way’? I need to investigate this further.
Anyway, we lost a couple of branches – which shrivelled up and died, fruit and all – but the rest were heavy with shiny black jewels, and they’d got super-ripe.
It seems I could add blackcurrant harvesting to my miniseries of Toddler-Friendly Allotment Jobs. Dressed in dark colours and non-best items, Miss MBaF got stuck in – and was suitably gentle with the easily-squished overripe fruit. She really seemed to enjoy it, even though she couldn’t enjoy the rewards straight away – unlike during the strawberry harvest!
Dog on cat watch. Toddler getting stuck in.
In total, over two pickings and two bushes, the yield was about 6.5 lbs. And some of the currants were the largest I’ve ever seen. I wonder if this is due to the fact that we started watering the bushes at their base when we noticed them flopping??
Washed and bagged-up for the freezer
I’ve frozen 2.5lbs for later inspiration and used 2lbs in a batch of jam. One of my proudest horticultural/culinary moments was winning a rosette (yellow, for 3rd place) for my blackcurrant jam at the village show a couple of years ago. I’m not tempted to enter this year though, the fruit was so ripe that it was difficult to keep any intact during the jam-making process.
I’ve also made two batches (2x 1lb of fruit) of blackcurrant ice cream, using an easy and delicious recipe my Mum sent me. Miss MBaF tried it for the first time recently, when we went to stay with the grandparentals. I’m guessing that explains her enthusiasm to get picking!
The first tempting batch of blackcurrant ice cream
What’s been good on your plot? Join in with Pick of the Week
by adding a comment about your best/favourite harvest since last weekend, or a link to your PoTW blog post.