My mom has grown red currants for several years, but I never really understood the appeal. They’re tiny fruit that take forever to harvest and the bushes attract aphids like no other plant I know. And for some reason I had convinced myself that I didn’t even like the taste of the berries.
Then, last year, I went raspberry picking with a friend of mine and the farm also had black currants, so we laboured for over an hour to get two baskets of the tiny berries. I brought them home and made black currant jam… and decided currants are my new favourite fruit. So I called my mom and asked her to set aside some of her red currants for me. Those precious berries sat in my freezer until I pulled them out to make this month’s Can Jam recipe. I won’t make the mistake of leaving them unused for that long again!
After my great black currant jam experience, I thought I’d love to add a currant bush or two to my fruit collection, but figured they’d have to go in the ground and I’m pretty much out of room, so I didn’t obsess about it too much. Then one day, while Googling my way around the internet, I learned that currants will grow just fine in containers. So I started keeping my eye out for a black currant bush. I ended up with a “Ben Conan” black currant that is happily growing on my deck in a big plastic container.
It’s a “White Pearl” currant. You can see Ben Conan in the background. From the tag:
Ribes sativum “White Pearl”
Clusters of medium-large sweet green-white fruit. Currants grow on 1 and 2 year old wood. Three year old wood should be removed. Ripens late July. Plant in moist well drained soil. Full sun.
So hopefully in July I’ll be canning up a whole rainbow of red, black, and white currant jams and sauces.
Now if I could just figure out how to keep the aphids away…