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black currant thread

 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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we have wild black currants growing in our area and they make the best jelly

I had read that you could take black currant cuttings in late winter early spring and they would root well..so last month when I was walking around the yard I just kinda pulled off a chunk of black currant branch, tore it into 3 pieces with my fingers and stuck them i the ground in three places, marked them with some old flagging tape off of a fruit tree and stuck 3 tomato cages around them to protect them..

just in case they might TAKE..

well here it is about 3 or 4 weeks later and they buds are opening into leaves...wow..sure didn't really expect them to take ..but am quite pleased..will baby the little things and see if they make it but if they do, that sure was easy..(have done this with other plants and had them take)
 
Kay Bee
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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Sounds very cool Brenda - I hope they root well!

Would you be willing to try and describe the flavor of the fruit?  I have heard many times that they are an "acquired" or taste preferred by European palates more than American, but I have no idea what that really means...

I've had black currant tea and it didn't seem bad or strange, just a mild sweetness.
 
Pat R Mann
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Location: Seattle, WA
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They taste much different from red currants and any other berry. Less sweet, but not sour and very flavorful. Black currant ice cream is my fave.

I was planning to tip root a branch off my currant bush for propagating, but it seems I can skip that step. Good to know.
 
                                    
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To me, they have a strange, sort of medicinal aftertaste -- I've described it before as a mix of black cherry and original flavor Listerine.

 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 478
Location: Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada
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They make the most amazing wine.  There's a small winery in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee that sells it and it is absolutely magnificent!  Who'd have thought a dry county, the winery is grandfathered, would come up with something like that!
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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When I prune mine, I have to pick up the trimmings, or the'll all 'take'.
In my climate, I think blackcurrants are the easiest plant to grow from cuttings. I just shove them into the ground and walk away!
I love the taste, but it could be pretty intense for the uninitiated...think elderberryXstar aniseXblackberry.
Apparently they've got really high levels of vtamin C, anthocyanins and antioxidants, but I think in terms of "is it tasty?" As far as I'm concerned, they make the best jam of all, and blackcurrant trifle is a Christmas standard in my family. (For the poor people who haven't experienced this great English pudding, it's layers of fruit, sponge cake, good custard and whipped cream, all liberally soaked in alcohol. In this case, cassis and blackcurrant vodka).
 
Paul Cereghino
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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I just propagated 20 jostaberry (black current x gooseberry?) from branches that were touching mulch and rooted... I ran out of pots before I got to the cuttings.  Also Ribes sanguineum roots easily, poor berries but beautiful flowers.
 
                    
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Welcome! Good to see you here! 
 
                    
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I believe currants are a host for pine blister or whatever its called? i dunno if i should plant it cause i like and have some big healthy pines. anyone know what the real risk is?
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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I think you may be able to find some currants that are free of the disease.  If not, you'd better check with the state before you plant any, as it's illegal in some states to plant gooseberries or currants within a certain distance of white pines (I don't know if any other pines are affected).

Kathleen
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
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When black currants are sour and the skin has a after taste, they are not ripe yet. Press them gently with your finger. When they wilt under the pressure they are ripe and taste mildly sweet. No after taste, no medicinal taste.
 
Jordan Lowery
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Location: zone 7
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I think you may be able to find some currants that are free of the disease.  If not, you'd better check with the state before you plant any, as it's illegal in some states to plant gooseberries or currants within a certain distance of white pines (I don't know if any other pines are affected).

Kathleen


thats a bummer, pines and gooseberries are best friends around here. the best pines and the best gooseberries are always growing together.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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boddah wrote:
I believe currants are a host for pine blister or whatever its called? i dunno if i should plant it cause i like and have some big healthy pines. anyone know what the real risk is?


Does the pacific northwest currants & conifers know this?  Currants are a major berry food for native animals in the pacific Northwest surrounded by pines, and other acid loving things like thimbleberry, salmonberry, crowberry, salal aka laughing berry, and more.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Mekka Pakanohida wrote:
Does the pacific northwest currants & conifers know this?  Currants are a major berry food for native animals in the pacific Northwest surrounded by pines, and other acid loving things like thimbleberry, salmonberry, crowberry, salal aka laughing berry, and more.


First, I believe it is only (or primarily) the white pine that is of concern with the blister rust (aka White Pine Blister Rust) which is hosted by currants and gooseberries. 

Second, in the currant/gooseberry ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest, you probably don't have too many White Pines.  There are other kinds of pines in the PNW, and much of the region has other types of conifers (Douglas Fir, Spruce, Hemlock primarily) instead of pines.  So in this area, the blister rust is probably not an issue.

Kathleen
 
John Polk
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The restrictions vary from State/State, and County/County.  Consult your county agent, as s/he will know what the regulations (and recommendations) are for your area.  A simple phone call could save you a lot of grief.

Very few areas currently have restrictions.  They are mostly in areas where the white pine is a major economic factor.

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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we have white pine and naturally occurring black currants, and they are both free of blister rust..but you gotta be sure before you have them together for sure.

i kinda think they taste a little like a cross between blackberry and elderberry myself..kinda musty ish..but they make fantastic jellly, haven't tried anything else as I haven't had enough for more than jelly so far..these were wildings i found in my yard
 
M.K. Dorje
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Location: Orgyen
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The black currant cultivar "Consort" is immune to rust disease, does well in hot or cool climates and is extremely high in anti-oxidants. It also is extremely productive and is easy to propagate from cuttings in the winter. This variety also has the skankiest flavor of any fruit I've ever tasted- this is an acquired taste for most folks. Consort makes a funky freezer jam when combined with aronia berries. The aronia berries contain natural pectin, but you'll need to add some sweetener.
 
Kay Bee
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Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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thanks for all the flavor descriptions... now I'm more curious than ever what these will taste like!

there is some info regarding white pine blister rust (and background regarding the ban on currants/gooseberries) in this slide show pdf that I came across while looking for info on black currants and jostaberries.

http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/PDF/goosetalk02112010fin2ooo.pdf

what kinds of yields are you all getting from black currant bushes?
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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Can this cutting method be done with red currants as well, or are they not as easy?
 
M.K. Dorje
Posts: 153
Location: Orgyen
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The "Red Cherry" cultivar of red currant is also easy to propagate from winter cuttings, in fact in my experience it is one of the easiest of all plants to propagate. As for the yields from "Consort":  I don't keep good records, but I would guess we made about a dozen pint jars of freezer jam last year from three bushes of Consort along with a bunch of aronia berries mixed in as well. We also ate a bunch of fresh currants from those three bushes, too. When making jam, we use about 4 parts currants to about 1 part aronia berries. This jam is also excellent when added to yogurt. Currrants seem to yield good crops every year, despite bad weather for pollination (like last year).
 
Kathy Garcelon
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We live right on the coast of Maine and have recently had a stretch of dry weather. Today, I checked my black currant bushes and the berries looked ripe. I picked about four to taste. They either are not ripe or the dry weather has affected the taste! The berries honestly tasted like bile after vomiting. I kid you not. I had to spit them out. Last year, I made jelly with them and it was very good. Anyone know about the 'bile' taste? Are these berries going to taste better? They were truly awful.
 
Robert Ray
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I have a few different black currant cultivars and one of them does have that God awful taste as you have described. I just leave its berries for the birds. I made creme de cassis from my bushes last year.
 
jared strand
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Like to revisit this old topic, as I have searched the Web and found no answers.
We recently moved to a site that has two rows of Blackcurrant. My wife was pretty excited, until she found a "ripe" one and ate it. They taste like chewing on pine tar! The dark berries are ripe to the point of dropping off into your hand, but under the light are not totally black, a little reddish tint.
Is this just an unfortunately nasty cultivar, is this a result of wood chip mulch, having pine trees nearby (it looks like several pines in the yard have died from rust) or are people just choking down this nasty taste and claiming it tastes good, just because they have nothing better or have invested time into cultivating?
I'm ready to call the winery and have them come get them all when they ripen. Gross!
 
Crt Jakhel
Posts: 131
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6a
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In my experience blackcurrant berries can vary in taste quite a lot on the same bush in different years.

But you described such an awful experience that it's quite possible you really have a ho-hum cultivar. Unless the berries were somehow forced to "ripen" prematurely (drought, heat, etc). That changes the picture entirely as quite often the berries really are no good unless fully ripe. It's a similar situation as with blackberries.

Are your berries juicy and squishy (not just dropping)? If not they have not ripened normally.

There are many blackcurrant cultivars on the European market that are quite sweet and entirely appropriate to snack directly off the bush - the Swiss Noiroma and Nimue, the Polish Gofert, even Titania (Swedish?) which is somewhat of a standard can be very pleasant in a good year and at full ripeness. And that's just the ones I have tried.  The are GOOD. Definitely not just grin and bear it.

(Note that in all likelihood even in the best of situations there will still be a little bit of the "tarry" taste - it's what makes blackcurrants blackcurrants. They are a love or hate fruit.)

But as I understand it you are in the USA and I don't know what's on the market there. If you happen to come across any of the names I mentioned give them a chance.

If your currants are currently yucky may I suggest steeping them in alcohol (some cheap vodka etc), shake daily and then after a week add sugar to taste (and keep shaking for a week). You might still get something out of them in this way. Remember to filter at the end.

(But don't do the vodka thing if your berries are not juicy.)
 
Ghislaine de Lessines
Posts: 196
Location: Vermont, annual average precipitation is 39.87 Inches
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Black currants are usually an acquired taste for the American palate.  Many Americans reacted like that when they taste the berries without having first tried them as a liquor, jam, or other sweet.  Even then, I think there's many Americans that wouldn't like it.  I know I didn't when I first had a black currant flavored candy!  I do like it now and have a plant growing here.  But I really don't think of any currents as being fruit to eat directly off the bush, not even red currents.
 
Crt Jakhel
Posts: 131
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6a
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Maybe the whites/pinks are the answer for a person who doesn't like the sourness of the reds nor the special taste of the blacks. Or just process them - in juice, in vodka, in jams. But seriously, some blacks are definitely sweet enough to just browse. Add Ebony to the ones already listed.

After this year's late frost the currants are the only fruit that produced fully and on schedule. No apples, pears, plums, first raspberry flower buds frozen, gooseberies fruiting very lightly... OK, there's some fruit left on a cold-hardy fig, but it's in a sheltered location and that's cheating
 
jared strand
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I took your suggestion and looked for a fruit with a little more "give" to it, instead of just falling off the bush. A little hesitant, but it didn't have the piney smell, so I popped it in my mouth and it was fine.
I grew up with red and white currants and loved them, but was used to the fruit turning from green and "veiny" patterned to a translucence, which I was not seeing on these blacks. Matter of fact, I took a handful of the ones that "fell off" the bush into my hand, and left them drying in the sun for the day. They seemed to fade to reddish, still not translucent, so apparently they are deceptively unripe.
I think they should be ok, I have no idea what cultivar they are, may have to crawl around and see of any of the bushes have tags. Don't drink, so vodka or wines are out, but if they taste ok they are getting made into jams or dried.
 
jared strand
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As a side note- if you have established pines, don't put in currants. I don't think my landlord will ever admit that I am right. but judging by the number of stumps in the yard, I don't think the one dead pine in the yard is the first victim of white pine rust. I bet it started shortly after these plants were put in.
 
Crt Jakhel
Posts: 131
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6a
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Jared, I'm glad you're finding the blacks more palatable now.

You can also squish / cook them into juice / syrup -- depends on whether you want to add sugar or not. Even without it the product should keep for a long time because of natural acidity. Our redcurrant juice keeps 2 years easily. Flavored vodka doesn't because something always happens to it... Weddings and similar occassions that draw severely on the inventory

There are cultivars of currants (actually, many cultivars, that's my impression anyway) that are immune to pine rust.

If I recall correctly there was actually at some time a ban on growing currants in the US exactly because of the pines... And that's why they are not a well known fruit. So I've been told. Yeah, read about it: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2006/07/welcome-back-black-currants-forbidden-fruit-making-ny-comeback
 
Mori no Niwa
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Location: Van Buren Co., MI
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I've planted a few blackcurrants in recent years, mostly 'Riverview' and 'Consort.' This is the first year any have fruited (Consort, I think), and the flavor of the ones I have tried so far is really bizarre—I would liken it to pine tar mixed with an essence of a raw green bell pepper. Will wait and see if any of the other bushes have better-tasting fruit, but so far not something I'm really excited about. I have had a couple of Red Currants growing and fruiting for a year or two, and those are small, very tart fruits, but beautiful to look at and not too bad to eat fresh off the bush. Likewise with my Clove Currant (Ribes odoratum), it has lovely yellow clove-scented flowers in spring and bears prolifically, with larger dark purple fruit that has a sweet/tart/musky flavor that most people seem to like. The fruits on those are larger, maybe 5/8" (15mm) in diameter.
PJ
 
Roger Taylor
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Location: New Zealand
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I've always taken cuttings in the Winter, which it is now in New Zealand.  However, I was reading through some of my books and one recommended taking the cuttings in Autumn, with the idea that they'd root a little before Winter.  Has anyone tried this approach and if so, how does it compare?
 
Crt Jakhel
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Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6a
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Mori no Niwa wrote:I've planted a few blackcurrants in recent years, mostly 'Riverview' and 'Consort.' This is the first year any have fruited (Consort, I think), and the flavor of the ones I have tried so far is really bizarre—I would liken it to pine tar mixed with an essence of a raw green bell pepper.


Similar to the previous reported problem, this sounds very much as unripe currants... Are they soft and squishy? If not, it was too early. If yes, thrown them out and plant something else
 
steve bossie
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Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
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I've got 4 2 yr old black currants in my yard. 2 consorts and 2 boskoop giants. both have a small crop of berries so i should get a good sample of what they taste like this fall. both these species are white pine blister rust immune. i also have aronia, goji, goumi, 3 types elderberry, autumn olive, lingonberry, honey berry, seaberry ,western serviceberry, and 2 mulberry in my yard. most have some crop this year so I'm going to be able to try most of them when they ripen! i went crazy with the elderberry and planted 7 of them!  some american, european and hybrids. all commercial varieties. all are covered with huge flowers right now! might be interested in trading some for another fruit crop if someones interested. can dry them and send them to you. would love to trade for some dry autumn olive as mine won't produce for a few more years.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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