I don’t like blackcurrants

I don’t like blackcurrants. I wish I did, but I don’t. I especially wish I liked them in summer, because I have a venerable bush that produces great bunches of large black berries that just go on swelling until they are so soft and large that you have to pick them individually so that they don’t burst. They do look beautiful though:I was cleaning out the freezer, which I do about every five years, and found boxes of blackcurrants going back to 2007. There’s really no point in going on pretending I am going to use them, or make jam to give away, or summer puddings, or indeed anything. I tell every friend and neighbour in sight to come and help themselves, but even so, the birds seem to get most of them. Also, they are a really fiddly bore to pick and clean, which is another reason for leaving them where they are.I love the way light shines through redcurrants. And I quite like the taste. But here again, I always end up with a surplus that I don’t know what to do with. So, I don’t spend much time on my redcurrants either.

Raspberries on the other hand, I cherish…I adore raspberries, and look forward slavishly to the moment at the start of July when the first berries turn red. Picking them is a delight; eating them is even better. And in the middle of winter, a box of raspberries, unfrozen and turned into raspberry fool with lots of whipped cream, brings back the taste of summer.
Whenever I see the meagre little boxes of raspberries sold by supermarkets at an exorbitant price, as though they were some exotic tropical fruit, I feel faintly scandlised. Who are they trying to fool?

Scotland grows the best raspberries in the world, and although the big commercial plantings are further north, (there are many varieties named after the Angus glens) I don’t do badly. I was lucky enough to find one of the few patches of gravelly soil in the garden (probably dumped by a glacier) for them, and, for the most part, they thrive. I love wiring in the new shoots and thinking how much I am going to enjoy them in a year’s time.

This year hasn’t been quite as good as normal, because a lot of canes were smashed by a vicious spring gale, and the bare rooted ones I bought to replace some old canes haven’t taken. So I’m looking at a nasty gap in next summers crop. I’ll just have to make the most of this year’s.



9 thoughts on “I don’t like blackcurrants

  1. I would stew those blackcurrants with sugar and sieve to make not-to-sweet cordial. I’ve also seen recipes for blackcurrant gin, but I guess you’re not interested in alcoholic beverages.

  2. I love blackcurrants! They were the berries of my childhood. I am used to their tart taste. I understand why many people don’t care of them. They are not as sweet as other berries. I use the leaves for my tea, also.

  3. I wish it would work that I could send you my address and you could send me your black-currants! I do have bushes in my garden but there isn’t space to put them in a sensible place so they don’t fruit well . . . and this year I forgot about them so most had fallen off before I went to pick them . . . which suggests I didn’t mind . . . but I do . . . I love blackcurrants. And raspberries. You could post me some of them too?).

    • Esther, I am sure we can come to some arrangement next year. Remind me when the time comes. I’ve been reading your thoughts on bio-diversity with interest. I think I need a lot LESS bio-diversity in my garden, especially the rabbits – which have just pruned all my cystius for me. I could also do with many fewer slugs…. I’m not certain that bio-diversity and gardens mix at all well.

  4. I remember red currant jelly, my mother straining the currants (must have been cooked) through muslin or cheesecloth and then making a wonderful jelly from the juice. (You can tell I’m not willing to go through it.) But let’s talk raspberries kininvie. It happens that I was just inches from tossing a whole disappointing row of them about 2 wks ago but Mr O objected. And the talk– some people say sun, some people say shade, some say compost, some say never feed them anything. My row has sun and shade and a few pathetic half size berries. They’re a good variety (maybe from Scotland??) that grows well in other gardens. Gravel? You looked for gravel for them? I could call the quarry trucks…

    • Dear Linnie, I’m far from being a raspberry expert, but they do seem to like that annoying combination of ‘damp but well drained’ soil – hence gravelly clay. Personally, I give them manure in autumn & then blood,fish & bone meal two or three times in the growing season – domestic raspberries are heavy feeders in my experience, although their wild cousins quite like poorer soil. They also like liberal quantities of water – the reason why they do well in Scotland.
      Quite often, raspberries may be doing poorly, but a seedling spread by a bird will pop up somewhere else and grow well (usually right in the middle of a valuable plant) That could be an indication of a spot they might enjoy more….
      A final possibility is they just may not like your soil for some unknown reason, in which case you could make them a raised bed (need not be too deep as they are shallow rooted) and provide them with something different to grow in.

  5. I think I’ve never tasted a blackberry in my life. It sounds sad but in Italy you don’t find blackcurrant. So the moral is: don’t despise blackcurrants when there are people starving!
    I do love raspberries too, so now I’m feeding some blackbirds with raspberries and plenty of laxative to find out where is the best place to plant them next year… 🙂

  6. Blackcurrants, I love ’em, not off the bush though, too tart. Made into delicious jams, cordials and tarts is a different story, gorgeous. Raspberries, I love them too. Am trying to get them established in the garden here. Have planted Sumer and Autumn varieties.

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