Black Currants 2017


Is there much difference between the two rhubarb varieties or are they similar?


Why do you think the nasty taste means “consort”? I bought Prince Consort because I thought it is better taste, now you scare me, :grinning: I have one that has no name(actually, it was a name, but I lost it, it was kind of strange) and it is aggressively bitter and berries are very small, but it is not affected by powdery mildew, so doesn’t need to be sprayed to have good leaves for pickling, this is only purpose I keep it for, I do not even pick it. And Prince Consort is expected to give big crop this year for the first time. It is under fine net, so I can’t even try it, but it better be better then the first one. I hope to start picking it on weekend, if weather permits.


the victoria is from my fathers patch. its a old tried and true variety but its a little more sour and tough. the canada red is a lot more vigorous. big leaves, bigger stalks that are candy red, sweeter and very tender. produces 2xs more than victoria.


i went back and checked my order and the red ones are actually crimson red not canada red. my bad.


Galina, everyone is talking that Consort should be productive but very strong tasting with relatively small berries. Mine just fitted to that description, so I guessed about it. The jam was good though so I do not mind.


Mine are not netted. They are growing next to blueberries which are netted and birds are hunting for blueberries but ignore black currants. They also did not touch ripe red currants which were highly visible. I think that the strong taste has its advantages. I do think that the birds can eat black currants but only if they are completely desperate.


I net not as much for birds, though they eat it as well, but for currant fruit fly, it destroyed full crop last year.


Yes will post it under food later!


I’d be interested in swapping dormant sticks this fall. I have Ben More, Westwick and a nameless variety that is sweeter than either of the others. (We call it Orphan.) Am also interested in finding Risager and Laxton’s Giant.


That’s not true for mine. I still have some unripe Blackdown and Minaj Smyrou hanging, but most of the others ripened and got eaten by the birds. I got 2 quarts out of the first of 3 Consort bushes. Then, I got less than half a pint from the other 2. I’m thinking that I’ll make one more pass on the bushes this weekend, then make a batch of jam.


Catbirds love my black currants.


Zendog, we are in similar climates and I have also had problems with the heat doing in black currants (and similarly with trailing blackberries). I am pretty much only growing Minaj now, I really like how it cooks up plus somehow all but one of the black currant plants I have left alive after 5-10 years is Minaj… survival of the fittest, they are a lot more durable. For the reds its only Red Lake left alive after ten years, they are doing great and half a dozen other varieties are dead.

I moved them recently to a more sunny spot so it will be a few years before I get a good load again. I need enough crop to bother netting, this year I didn’t net and the birds took all but a few samples.


I opened net on my Prince Consort today to start picking. Found that it is ripen very uneven, sometimes same branch has completely ripen bunches, and some almost green - not single berries, but whole bunches. I picked some, but let the rest to stay longer. I hope birds are not going to finish it, as they do not care about my other currant that I do not pick. Taste wise it is far from the taste I remember on the best bushes in my mother’s garden in Russia. Do not-so-bitter black currants with large and tender berries even exist in US? If yes, I want to hear about them!


My Ben Sarek are not bitter. The longer theyvstayvon the branches obviously the sweeter they get. Consort was bitter but made for an excellent pollinator. Scott has one variety I have never grown and it begins with an S. It is supposed to be the sweetest. US tastes usually like black currants cooked. They are excellent when fresh with venison.


I don’t recall underripe black currants being bitter. They are astringent and very sour. As they ripen, get duller, larger and soften, they lose most of the astringency and gain a lot of sugar and remain tart.


That is the problem - my do not gain sugar… And I wouldn’t call them astringent as well - the taste is bitter, at least this is how I feel it.


I made more currant jam from the remaining 3 pounds. So it is totally about 13 pounds for 2 large bushes.
@galinas, mine were also bitter and sour and uneven ripening, the unnamed variety that I have. They also fell when were overripe. Ben Sarek was larger, not bitter, but still very sour so not for eating fresh. I think the even ripenning is an important trait. I made a raw jam with sugar and enjoy it eating fresh.


We called it “Vitamin” back home. I will make raw jam as well.


Black currants, elder berries and rose hips are often said to be the products richest in natural Vitamin C that will grow in a termperate climate. I think Currants are famous from England and Ireland because they don’t get much sun and they’ll still ripen there. Currants and all berries seem to love growing here in the wet PNW side. I don’t net them. Birds don’t seem to eat my black or even the pretty red ones.
John S


The robins seem to prefer the blueberries to the black currants and blackberries at my place. The Aronia are starting to pick up color. I know the birds eat those too, probably in preference to the black currants. The currants aren’t very visible from above. I wonder if that’s part of it.