How to Dry Black Currants in a Dehydrator
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Drying black currants is a great way to preserve this tart summer berry. Dried black currants can be used in sweet baking projects like scones or cookies, or they can be added to savory dishes like stuffing or rice. Drying black currants at home is easy with a simple food dehydrator. Once dried, the currants will keep for months so that you can have them on hand for all sorts of cooking.
About Black Currants
Black currants are a shrub variety berry. They are ripe when the round berries have turned completely black and come off the stem easily when picking. We have included them in our native landscaping along with red currants and gooseberries because they grow well in partially-shaded areas. Compared to their cousin the red currant, black currants have a deeper more pungent flavor. Some say drying them helps to focus on the sweetness while making them just a bit less tart.
Black currants offer a number of nutritional benefits, including antioxidants and free radicals. They have been shown to help boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and even contribute to eye health (read more about related studies here).
Interestingly, black currants were at one time banned from the US because of a disease they carried that could be passed to pine trees. However, they have been safely re-introduced. They are popular in Europe and parts of Asia where they are a common berry snack and ingredient in cooking, hence their common inclusion in things like scones!
How to Dry (Dehydrate) Black Currants
The easiest and simplest method to dry black currants is in a food dehydrator. While you can use a fancy dehydrator with lots of settings, we are just as happy with our simple, less expensive Nesco Dehydrator. This method takes about 18-24 hours to fully dry the currants, being careful not to overdry them to a crispy state. Be sure to dry currants that are fully ripe and fresh for best results.
Please note that dried currants do not “rehydrate” like dried tomatoes or mushrooms might; instead you use them in their dehydrated state as an add-in for recipes just like you would with raisins or dates.
For advice on how to choose a dehydrator that meets your needs, click here!
Dried (Dehydrated) Black Currants
- Pick Black Currants when they are fully ripe and dry within 24 hours for best results.
- Rinse the currants by putting them in a bowl with cold water. Let leaves and other debri rise to the top then scoop it off with a fine mesh sieve or gently pour the water off to eliminate these unwated parts.
- Strain the currants and place them on a tray on top of a towel. Gently shake the tray back and forth to move the currants over the towel to dry.
- Optional: You can drop the berries into a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes to crack their skins and speed up the drying process.
- Place currants in a single layer on your dehydrator trays; I like to keep some space between the berries so be sure to use two trays if needed.
- Set your dehydrator to the fruit and berry setting (typically around 115 degrees fahrenheit, but check instructions on your dehydrator for suggestions).
- Check the berries after 12, 18, and 20-24 hours. Remove from dehydrator when dry. They should resemble raisins but may be a little more "crispy." Be careful not to overdry too much.
- Store dried currants in a sealed container, and put them in the refrigerator or freezer to ensure that any remaining moisture won't cause mold growth.
More Dehydration Tips and Methods:
Visit these other articles to learn more great tips for using your dehydrator with garden produce!