Currants

Blanca Currant
Blanca Currant

 

There are several options for berry bushes where I live. One that is slowly catching on is currants. They are not particularly sweet so it may be some time before they become more popular. I like them though and have 12 full grown plants of red, pink and white currants (Ribes sativum) and black currants (R. nigrum) and two species of wild black currants, American currant (R. americanum) and clove currant (R. odoratum) in semi-cultivation. Clove currant produces masses of spectacular yellow tubular flowers with a heavy scent reminiscent of sweet spices and vanilla. Hummingbirds love them.

 

Clove Currant flowers
Clove Currant flowers

 

Last month and this month I have transplanted cuttings and even whole plants of red currants from an old patch into a new one. Currants begin to grow almost as soon as the ice is out of the top six inches of the soil. About three weeks later the first flowers appear. The small greenish-yellow flowers of red currants (R. sativum) are not very spectacular but full-grown bushes make hundreds of them. Black currants (R. nigrum) have larger flowers that are more white than green and the flowers more tubular. In a few months each bush will yield about 10 to 15 pounds of tart red, pink, white, or black berries in long tresses. The fruit can be eaten fresh or it can be cooked and pressed through a strainer to get the seeds out for a tart sauce.

 

Red Currant flowers
Red Currant flowers

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