Harvesting black currants

Out by the shed, near the chicken coop. The place everyone hangs out to discuss the various edibles they raise in their gardens/allotments.

Harvesting black currants

Postby claireOOTO » June 12th, 2012, 2:53 pm

Hello! I have a black currant bush, and I think the berries are starting to ripen, but not all at once. How do I know when they're ripe? (When they're very dark and come off easily, I presume?) I only have one bush, and I'd like to use all the berries at once, can I save the ones that I've already picked till they're all ready?

I live in America, and I honestly don't know anybody else here with black currant bush! I believe they were banned for decades, and have only just started letting them in again. It's one of my absolute favorite flavor!

Uses for my ripe black currants would be appreciated as well! (Has anybody ever made cassis?)
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Re: Harvesting black currants

Postby StokeySue » June 12th, 2012, 3:15 pm

Yes, you can go entirely by colour as I remember, also smell is an indication

it is quite hard work - i used to live near where there were huge plantations of blackcurrants grown for Ribena (a British blackcurrant cordial) - picking was a notorious vacation job, as it hurt the fingers so much, I managed to avoid it (now done by machines)

However, one bush is OK, at my parents we had two blackcurrant bushes, one redcurrant, one white currant, and two gooseberry bushes, I used to pick the lot, and as I remember I used ot pick over several times to get the whole crop

We used to make a jelly (that's to say a strained seedless preserve, not a whole fruit jam) as we preferred not having the seeds on our scones!

I'm sure other people have more up to date info
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Re: Harvesting black currants

Postby ianinfrance » June 12th, 2012, 6:36 pm

If you want to use them all at once, then you might like to know that they freeze very well indeed.
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Re: Harvesting black currants

Postby Fiona » June 13th, 2012, 8:07 am

claireOOTO, why were they banned? It seems like an odd thing to ban to me!

There have been various threads here about sloe-gin and flavoured vodkas, I'm not sure what base is needed for cassis but I'm pretty sure you can find out how to make it one one of the old threads. (there's a search box at the top of the page)

Let us know how you get on!

Fiona :)
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Re: Harvesting black currants

Postby ianinfrance » June 13th, 2012, 8:43 am

I seem to remember that there's a virus that is carried on Ribes and which can/could attack an important crop. I could be entirely wrong here, however.
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Re: Harvesting black currants

Postby claireOOTO » June 13th, 2012, 3:23 pm

Thanks everyone! StokeySue, I love ribena! It's very expensive here, though. A garden with currant & gooseberry bushes sounds ideal to me!!

Ian, thanks - I might try to freeze some of them. Or maybe I'll just make a little puree or sauce with what I've already picked, because I can't wait!!

Fiona - they were banned because they carried the same disease as a kind of tree, but I can't remember which one. Elms? White pines? But they've recently bred more disease-resistant varieties.

It also seems to me that Americans don't tend to grow fruits that aren't immediately gratifying - so no gooseberries, quince, blackcurrants...anything that really tastes best when it's cooked somehow.
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Re: Harvesting black currants

Postby Fiona » June 13th, 2012, 5:40 pm

very interesting!

some puree drizzled over excellent ice cream would be nice... :)

Fiona :)
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Re: Harvesting black currants

Postby jodie » June 13th, 2012, 6:15 pm

About blackcurrants !!! Well my husband forgot to put netting around them in the allotment last year and the birds had a feast I wasn't best pleased . I have frozen them last year but I 'm not sure what to do if we have a good crop any advice would be good (not too keen on jam) what a fuss pot I am thanks all
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Re: Harvesting black currants

Postby claireOOTO » June 13th, 2012, 6:19 pm

I just boiled my scant cup of currants with sugar and water. It's nice, but a very strong flavor. I happen to have some leftover white chocolate pastry cream and some heavy cream in the fridge. I might mix it all together and freeze it into ice cream!!
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Re: Harvesting black currants

Postby miss mouse » June 15th, 2012, 2:36 pm

claireOOTO wrote:Fiona - they were banned because they carried the same disease as a kind of tree, but I can't remember which one. Elms? White pines? But they've recently bred more disease-resistant varieties.



Like gooseberries they host a pest fatal to white pine, white pine blister rust, it is usually the pest host thing which causes these bans.

I love black currents.
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Re: Harvesting black currants

Postby Annie » June 16th, 2012, 6:48 pm

I no longer have any currant bushes I used to have both black and red at the allotment. We used to pick in a couple of batches taking the whole 'head' each time then back at home in the comfort of the kitchen run fork through to strip the berries from the heads.
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Re: Harvesting black currants

Postby jodie » June 17th, 2012, 3:44 pm

Yes we have quite a lot this year but not ready for a while yet just hope the birds does not get to them like before I'm looking for more recipes :)
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