For those of you who have seen my other posts, you’ll know I like writing up some of my opinions on my less common fruiting plants. I (currant)ly grow about 12 different varieties of currants/gooseberries and to my surprise, both of my pink currant varieties, the pink champagne and Gloire De Sablon, are my least favorite. Sorry I didn’t take a picture during the peak growing season, ill upload one next year if anyone is interested. With that being said its not by any means a bad plant to grow, but if you’re in a zone good for growing currants or gooseberries, at least for fresh eating, these are just not my go to. This review is strictly for fresh eating, I don’t really process any of the fruit I grow so I won’t comment on that part. I’ve been growing pink currants for 3 years now. As with my other posts, here are the pros and cons:
As with most all currants, they’re healthy and easy to grow
The taste is good but isn’t great. The reason I’m listing this as a pro is because it does have flavor reminiscent of pomegranate and given the seed crunch, in a lot of ways it feels like you’re eating a pomegranate aril when you pop them in your mouth. I love pomegranate but its too cold here to grow them so…this is a poor substitute but about as close as you’ll get in zone 5 in my experience.
They ripen earlier than gooseberries and can hang for a very long time without shriveling. In the Chicagoland area they ripen mid July and you can let them easily hang on the bush for a month before they start turning into a currant raisin.
Less animals are attracted to them due to their lack of intense color while ripening
I know in certain parts of the country, insects can be an issue for ribes, out here in the Chicagoland area, I haven’t had any pest problems so far.
They’re slow growing. That being said, currants compared to gooseberries in general are not nearly as vigorous in my experience. Many of my gooseberries that are only two years old are towering over my currants (other than the crandalls).
Not nearly as sweet as I was expecting. All the nurseries online state that pink currants are the best currant for fresh eating because they have more sugar and less acid. Yes, they’re sweet and low acid, but not nearly as sweet as my other ribes. I as well as each and every family member that tried them all agree that our dessert quality gooseberries, crandall currant and white imperial currant are sweeter and tastier.
Berries don’t form all over the sprigs. This is a known problem of pink champagne currants. They simply drop many of their flowers and you’re left with sprigs that only contain about 1/2 the fruit that they should which leads to poor harvests. This could change in future years but as of now, its been a consistent problem.
I’m not convinced that pink champagne and Gloire De Sablon are different varieties. I purchased both plants from reputable nurseries that I trust. They both flower and ripen at identical times, they both have the same flower dropping issue and they both taste extremely similar. I won’t say they taste identical simply because its hard to be 100% positive on this note, but they’re similar enough that theres no reason to grow both in my opinion.
So in summary. If you want fresh eating currants go with crandall or white imperial over the pinks. If you want a sort of pomegranate like experience in zone 5, get a pink currant.
i have many Ribes here. dont have the pink currant yet. planted a primus white but its still small. reds are pretty tart also. i have johnkeers and perfection. birds really go for those. what i harvested will go in jam. black currants grow incredibly fast. some fruit as soon as the 2nd year from a cutting. still my favorite Ribes. jeane gooseberry is very productive and reminds me of the older variety green grapes that i used to love. really enjoy them fresh. i still may try a pink. different regions grow differently. Ribes grow best in colder areas which i think improves taste.
Totally fair! Obviously taste is very subjective, but of my four family members who tried them and my girlfriend, we all agree they were a bit of a disappointment overall. They’re also only 3 years old so maybe they will improve with time.
Do you have any white currants or gooseberries that you’ve tried in comparison?
I grow Jeanne, one of my favorites overall. Great flavor, very sturdy and fast growing plant, productive and very few thorns. Definitely a winner. I haven’t tried out any red currants yet because I’ve read about their acidity but may add some in the future.
I will likely be removing one of my pink champagne currants in the upcoming year, if you’d like cuttings, I’d be more than happy to send some.
The family all-time favorite currant is white imperial. It is super productive, amazing taste, none of the skunky character of darker currants.
The second favorite is red currant Rovada. Funny story on this one; I was given a very sad potted plant that was not producing; the previous owner kept trimming the new growth to keep it small and as you probably know that’s where currants grow, with the end result that it was gnarly looking with maybe one singular small cluster of currants out of desperation. I took it home, untangled and pruned the tight root ball, pretty much chopped the gnarly top, and planted it directly in the ground. I was half afraid I killed the poor thing but it came back with a vengeance and it is producing like it wants to make up for lost time.
never under estimate currants. i unknowingly hit my tiny primus i got from hirts with weed killer. it browned up and a week later frost killed everything off. come mid june i see a tiny currant leaf on the dead looking primus twig. it grew 3 more shoots and is now a healthy 16in high bush. the harder i prune my black currants the more vigorous and productive they are.
I love how organized this is. Its interesting to me that Gloire des Sablons is ranked so much lower than your pink champagne, it makes me question if I have a true gloire des sablons. Does yours also drop many of the flowers on each sprig?
Also out of curiosity, why is your gloire des sablons listed as a white currant? Mine is identical looking to my pink champagne which you have listed as a red.
@Adamsmasherz I list Gloire des Sablons as red currant because I that is what the vendor I bought it from called it. I see that many on the Internet call it a Pink Currant. It is, in fact pink, not red. I will change my list.
@Adamsmasherz This is what I have:
Taste Rating (out of 15)
Rovada red currrant 8
Rovada red currrant 8
Gloire de Sablon - pink/white currant 9
Captivator - gooseberry 10
Red Lake - red currant 10
Hinnomaki red-gooseberry 12
Jeanne - gooseberry 12
Black Velvet - gooseberry 13
Pink Champagne - red currant 14
Primus - white currant 14
Tixia gooseberry 14
Hinnomaki yellow - gooseberry 15
Pixwell gooseberry 15