[NAFEX] Black currants
Ribes60 at aol.com
Ribes60 at aol.com
Mon Jul 17 21:35:48 EDT 2006
I have read the several posts regarding black currants and other Ribes and
feel I should add my two cents worth. At one time I probably had the largest
collection of Ribes outside of the Corvallis collection in the states. I have
more than 200 cultivars and did a lot of testing regarding how they grow and
what are the best ones for the local (PA) area. Later Harry Swartz did a fair
bit of breeding from many of the plants that I had growing. We selected
about 15 black currants and a few gooseberries to keep working with. I also
brought in a number of Ribes from Europe and have kept some going here and some
were used in the breeding program. I say this because there are many
differences in the wide number of plants and the more that you taste, the better you
can detect and decide which are the most acceptable (to you).
I agree with several of the posters, there are subtle differences and some
not so subtle differences in black currants. Richard is very correct in saying
that Western Europe tends to produce currants that taste very much alike
because they are producing for a specific product and do not want it to change.
Eastern Europe produces more varied products and so the berries are also
There is more difference in taste of the berries between under-ripe and
fully ripe than between most selections. Someone mentioned Coronet, Crusader and
Consort, they were developed specifically to resist White Pine Blister Rust,
and they do, but they sure did not develop an acceptable taste and generally
the yields are poor.
There are some Russian selections that are very palatable, right off the
bush but most others require a bit of acquiring a taste for them. I have and
really like to pick and eat them as they ripen. They all taste better if cooked
for a short while and if a bit of sugar is added. There are many that are very
good raw as-is if they are fully ripe.
Products made from them are outstanding, juice, wine and jam are as good as
As has been stated, there is much more difference in the taste of
gooseberries. There is not as much difference in red currants.
Try them, they are very good, easy to grow and harvest and ripen at a time
that there are not a great deal of other small fruit.
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