Black Currants 2017


If you are growing it for fresh eating, then yes, you want something else. But consort is productive and makes the best jam. If you scroll down to the bottom of the following link, I describe the taste testing of Consort vs mixed-black currant preserves.


I’ve got a lot of black currant plants in the ground, mostly by accident. I bought Raintree’s two currant packages in 2016, but I didn’t realize the black currant package was 6 plants and that the colored currant came with a black. Then they either messed up the order or changed the package, since almost none of the blacks were what I actually got. After a reshipping I ended up with something like a dozen black currants.

Unfortunately I live in Richmond, VA, and zone 7 is at the far limit of their range. I put them in pots, and mildew devastated every plant. It killed the colored currants, too. This year I replanted the blacks in the ground and ordered new coloreds, but only 2 or so fruited and very little at that. I don’t think they much care for clay soil, but they haven’t been destroyed by mildew yet.


I got two whole berries off my Crandall yesterday! They were tart and astringent, but startlingly flavorful. The flavor reminded me strongly of some candy or something, but I couldn’t place it, and with no more berries, I can’t try again!
Promising though.


Great thread. I had every intention of planting black currants this year, but my list of goals was too long to be accomplished in entirety. Regarding berries, I only got three black raspberry plants in the ground. Next year, though, I’ll get some black currants in the ground.

Did any of you get fruit in the year of planting?


Yes, but the mildew destroyed it all. I planted in containers with a 5:1:1 mix, so unless your soil is fairly rich you may not get the same result.


I was just looking at their site earlier and they’ve got some interesting varieties of black currant. I’ve only tried 3 of the 10 types they offer. Tiben and Ben Connan sound particularly good, both being high yielding and even ripening. Unlike snacking/desert fruit, black currants are for processing (at least for me), so I’d like to be able to harvest them in one go, if possible. It takes a lot of time to individually examine each berry.

I’m not sure if I’ll order them, but it has me thinking about pulling out some of the laggards and putting them in. In particular, Goliath (which has gotten more than enough chances) and maybe some of my white/pink/red currants (most of which I didn’t even bother to harvest this year) and maybe even some gooseberries (better than white currants, but thorny and not really exciting).


I have Tiben I can send you cuttings this fall. Mine is 2nd leaf. It only had a few berries. Not much to evaluate.


Did I mention that the currant jam tastes good? I tried it this morning and want to say it again. Nice color, distinct black currant taste. Skins and seeds are non offensive, so no need to strain it. It is rich in pectin so no need to add pectin in it. As easy as blend the berries and add sugar. After cooking it solidifies nicely. I also made raw jam without cooking on the heat. It should stay in refrigerator and some portion of it I froze in freezing bags. I know that in the middle of winter it will be especially cherished.


hmmmm…so today I had $15 in Jung dollars to blow. For folks who don’t know, Jung Dollars are pseudo-credit/cash you get when buying stuff at Jungs, to be useable on 8 or so days each year, at credit of up to 50% of cash value. So basically I had to spend $30, but was getting $15 worth of free stuff once I spent that.

I have mixed feelings on Jungs, but they had some Ben Sareks that were potted up and about 18" tall above the pot itself, with a couple cups worth of actual berries. I have a handful of other varieties as stems from cuttings I traded this year, a large Crandall which I bought from Burnt Ridge this year but did not fruit, and a Titania. The Ben Sarek impressed me with berry size (close to twice what I had on Titania, and at the other house, on pink champagne and red lake) and it was definitely sweeter than titania. Not sweet, but I enjoyed it. (I also eat my lime wedges in restaurants, being the classy bastard that I am, so my tolerance for sour is pretty high…)

My question for the group here: What black currants do you consider significantly sweeter/less “spitter” than Ben Sarek when raw? Besides Crandall, since I have one of those.

Just curious, I have a bunch of assorted blacks coming up for eventual wine/cider/jam use, but would be curious if there are a few good, sweet ones that are significantly sweeter than the Ben Sarek I just bought which I should keep an eye open for…


Personally after growing many varieties of currants for years I feel black currants are not grown for eating raw. They are usually in recipes involving sugar. Ben Sarek has large berries that are sour. They are so filled with pectin they make a self setting jam. Only the reds, pinks and white currants (to me) are for eating fresh. Again they are best eaten as jelly.


Belorusskaya sladkaya (Belarusian sweet) is a variety of sweeter black currant available in US. I really liked to eat the Bagira black currant over all varieties that we had back in Russia. But it is not available here.


You are so lucky to get it!


Is that the same as Belaruskaja? If so that is by far my favorite as well and is excellent for fresh eating. In fact it is my favorite berry overall. Blackdown and Minaj Smiriou (spelling?) are good too, but second to Belaruskaja


I agree. But,they are better than anything else I’ve had for jam/jelly. I get much more excited when I hear “high yields, easy to pick, even ripening”, than when I hear “Sweet, excellent fresh eating” in relation to black currants.

I thought I was out of last year’s jam, but I found one jar in the back of the scionwood fridge today. It’s good, as I was going to rush into making a new batch and now I can wait for the entire harvest to come in first.


And fwiw i could care less about preserves (only because we are low-carb; i love currant jam) but i feel the same re: wine or cider. That said i am also hoping for varieties my kids can eat outside 5-15% alcohol snacky-treats. Might not even happen but if there WAS a sweeter black, it would be nice for them. In the time since last post my daughter tried the ben sarek, it was NOT her thing…


My palate disagrees. I love fresh, ripe black currants, but seldom eat more than one or two red or white. They just taste like generic sour fruit flavor to me. Black currants have flavor and much higher sugar content when they are allowed to ripen.


I picked 2.5 lbs today of 3 varieties, and made some jam. Its tedious picking off all of the stems. During harvest, I made thinning pruning cuts then stripped the berries from the prunings.

I probably have another 8 lbs or so on the bushes.

Swedish black gets nicely sweet, and ripens early, but the berries are relatively small and yields not impressive.


We get totally upset when we have have opened up he last jar of the year! Harvest begins next week!


Cook them with the stems on then put them through a food mill. Removes tough skin, seeds and stems. That way you get the smoothest jam ever!


Yes it is the same variety.