It’s blackcurrant time! Yey. One of my favourite times of the year. At mtp we have two blackcurrant bushes that I inherited from the previous owners. I’ve no idea what variety they are or indeed in the first year any clue how to prune them. But last year I picked up a natty pruning tip from one of my neighbours (more on that later) and it’s worked a treat.
But what to make with all those blackcurrants? Of course I’m making some more Cassis as we did last year, but that takes months to mature – we needed to eat some of those plump, dark, berries now – heck, even the leaves smell good enough to eat! As it was a hot day we decided on some Blackcurrant Juice.
Firstly, you’ll need a basket full of blackcurrants. The trick with the pruning is to harvest the whole branch instead of each individual berry. This is good for two reasons: first you you can pick off the berries in the comfort of your own garden, secondly you are effectively pruning the bush as you go since Blackcurrants fruit on new wood and so the branches you have taken would be pruned anyway.
I will have to learn to get to the blackcurrants before the wildlife at my lottie!
Beautiful blog and this recipe looks delicious – thank you!
Nita, we had luck with netting our blackcurrant bushes as soon as the berries began to form this year. Got our plot at the end of June last year when there were no blackcurrants to be seen, the birds and other creatures having had the lot.
Oh, how lucky you are to have currants! They look divine. I wish I could grow currants here, but I think my plot is too sunny and hot for them.
Mmmmm… That looks tasty.
I don’t seem to have any problems with birds taking the blackcurrants. My bushes are out on a wide-open allotment and I have never netted them. There are definitely birds around but they never seem to go for the currants. I’m not really sure why.
I’m off to buy a blackcurrant bush!
Sounds great but when do you add the sugar? With the cloves or with the bulk of the water? Thanks. I really enjoy mtp.
Hi Lizbeth, I put the sugar and a small bit of water in first. Then the rest of the water.
Another use for blackcurrants(Blackberries and raspberries too) is fruit vinegar. You put a pound of fruit in with a pint of vinegar(any white type is ok) and leave for 3-4 days stirring occassionaly. Then strain through a sieve and press gently(Don’t press too hard or it will go cloudy)to remove as much juice as possible. Then for every pint of juice/vinegar add a pound of sugar, boil until a thick syrup then bottle(in clean sterilised bottles of course). This is lovely with icecream or a plain sponge pudding. It is also good for soothing a tickly cough and when my boys were younger they used to have adessert spoonful every day and rarely had colds!!So I guess its good for that too.
I’m about to harvest my first crop(in US). Most folks here have never heard of black currants. The juice looks delicious. What else is good to make?
I have 2 acres of black currants in Saskatoon.
over two ton went to waste, I have over 100 lbs in deep freeze, Local people dont know what thy are.
From a Brit Growing Berrys in saskatchwan Canada
If there is a redcurrant bush nearbye the English birds will not consider pinching the blackcurrants. You will be lucky to get any redcurrants. In a good year I will be picking redcurrants with several blackbirds still attacking the same bush. This year all redcurrants went while still pale pink.
So glad to hear it is normal to have redcurrants snaffled!!! My blackcurrants are fine but the red disappeared before being red!!! What will the birds do with whitecurrants?
I pick my blackcurrants and freeze them and when I feel like it I make jam or blackcurrant brandy or blackcurrant cheesecake – mmmm -delicious!
hi ..I am making bulk juice to bottle ,any advice about the bottling part ? ty we have no problems here in n.z with the birds getting the currents but they love our raspberries lol
I am in NZ also and picked my crop today in the heat! About 4 yrs back I made them into juice ( contentrate) and I can not for the life of me find the recipe i used. It has ascorbic acid in , which i perchased a a chemist .That helps to keep it long term, but I am not sue how much i used. Anyone have a long keep recipe? I would be greatful to hear from them.
blimey I no sooner sent the last requst and surfing found a recipe! Murphy”s law.. here is the URL incase others of you might like it also.
all the recipes sound good. happy new years harvesting to all:)
this recipe is rather vague. Just how many blackcurrants?You need a certain proportion of sugar to liquid for it to keep.Is this the juice one uses to make Kir? I have yo net my bushes, English birds eat all curants leaving only autumn raspberries.
I liked your blog and I did copy a few recipes. I hope I have the time to do them. I was mostly interested in making a juice. I have ‘8’ bushes that I got from a great aunt. She gave them with no instructions so I have been plugging a way at them. I have had them for 9 years and get way too many black currants. I would like to try to dry some this year as well. I have made jelly and not many people like black currant jelly from my family. I had tried a syrup for white cake and ice cream and that went over great. For the syrup I just used the jelly recipe with out the pectin. Must be kept in the fridge. Bushes must be pruned in fall or right after picking. My husband pruned in the spring, hence no black currants that year. Thanks Gwen.
Found this recipe last year when I was looking to make jam and juice,was gorgeous.So glad I came across it again this year.We’ve always had a few blackcurrent bushes in the garden, when I was younger I loved to pick em so my mother could make jam and such,now I make the jam!I’ve never pruned the bushes though,(being 21 and totally inept at gardening,try as I may) and there is always an abundance of berries on them,perhaps my dad does it without telling me.Thanks for the great recipe!
I “inherited” a huge blackcurrant patch with this property, and I suspect the bushes have been here for many, many years. The berries are HUGE, as is the harvest.
I need instructions on how much of the branches to prune? There seems to be differing opinions on cutting back after harvest, or cutting back in winter, when all the leaves have fallen.
HELP! I’ve been reluctant to prune at all in case I destroy the harvest, but it is now difficult to reach the millions of berries because of the unbelievable tangle!
Can you advise me, please? (I live in the “banana belt” of western Montana, where we have four seasons, but mild winters.)
I recently discovered the the berries are grown in Jamaica and I harvest so and made juice which is so delicious, my questions is how long can the drink be stores in the refridgetor. I also have some in my freezer, also how long does a plant takes to mature and bear fruits.
Hello blackcurrant enthuasists!
I live in the south of Ireland and trained at an Organic Horticulture College some years ago. We were taught to prune blackcurrants in wintertime ( October to March) with different opinions on when in that time period is best. There are a few rules as regards pruning and here they are;
1 never prune on a day when frost is expected as it could damage the exposed cut wood-this goes for all pruning
2 cut a third off the branches. In general all of the branches have 1 third of their length pruned off them unless you have a bush with different branch lenghts and are trying to get all the branches growing to the same lenght
3 cut out any wood that crosses other wood, or is dead or damaged
4 prune to keep the centre of the plant open, allowing the breeze to travel through it and keep moulds and mildews away. That means you try to get your blackcurrant into a cup shape, by always pruning to outward facing buds. You keep cutting out any branches that grow up in the centre of the plant or cross into the centre of the plant.
By the way we were always advised to fertilise our blackcurrants with chicken manure. I use pelleted organic chicken manure and feed it every February to my plants and get great results, healthy growth and lots of fruit. Hope this helps you all!
ive just made this juice using 200g of blackcurrents,80g of sugar, no cloves (horrible taste),and a 1.5 pints of water (1 pint first to break down fruit with the sugar, cooked for about 5 mins high heat,then added 0.5 pints of water and cooked for 10 mins,strained fruit into a jug, separated into 2 bottles. one for natural juice and the other mixed with vodka. mmm both taste brillant and the other is highly alcoholic yum yum
Hi, I have found your method of picking and prunning to be the best as it achieves two jobs at the same time. We have three bushes which are quite old but yield an abundance of currants. We harvest in summer- (January in New Zealand) so with Christmas and New Year it is a busy time. Harvesting is usually a lovely social time on the lawn stripping friut but then it is straight into the freezer so they can be dealt with at a quieter time.
We fill a pot of any size with the fruit and fill with water to cover- bring to the boil and then simmer till fruit is in rags. Strain and bottle and put into fridge and use as concentrated juice. We add it too a sweetened ginger refresher as a hot winter drink. What I like about this method is you can make just the amount that is required and therefore do not have to worry about preservatives etc.
If you want to sweeten it, it can be done per serve.
I am getting masses of them right now as there is a ruined garden with them near me.Realy should keep my jamjars and learn to make jam…we also have wild raspberries and blackberries later on everywhere. I like them in crumbles mixed with apple or rhubarb,but also boil them up then sieve to make juice…I use sweeteners rather than sugar which seems OK as long as you keep the juice cool in the fridge and use within a few days. Very nice by itself…or with a little orange squash and ice on a warm summer afternoon!
Hi There i don’t know your name but thanks to your blog i harvested my blackcurrant crop this year instead of letting them go to waste,question is there any simple way of removing the flower from the end of the berry,or are you supposed to consume this with rest of the berry
I had a problem with my black currants this year. Last year I picked 18-1/2 cups and this year I got only about 5 cups. What is really good and my favourite, is black currant jam. Deliciooooooous! You can get recipes from the internet at Google or Yahoo. Does anyone know how much to prune off of a bush? Some of them died over last winter, so I really would like to know how to look after this bush during the winter. Maybe I did something wrong? I put some red cedar mulch around the bottom of the bush. Maybe this is not good???.
Thanks and blessings,
For the recipe above – the black currant juice, how many black currants are in 5 or 6 branches??? It would be good to be specific – say 1 cup or 2 cups or 3 cups!!!!!!
I have just harvested a basket full from my garden, I am attempting to work my way through five new recipes. Today I have made a Blackcurrant Marbled Cheesecake and two jars of ‘no bits’ Jam, tomorrow I will try Blackcurrant Muffins. I have posted the recipes on my Blog ‘Lucy In The Sky’. Inthesky1.blogspot.com