10 Jul 2013

Redcurrants (Jonkheer van Tets)

Redcurrants

A couple of years ago, I bought this plant as a tiny £2 twig from a well known food supermarket - it's now about 3 feet tall! This is an aspect of gardening that I've come to love; buying small and watching the plant develop.  We no longer have a budget for this 'community' garden so all purchases are made from my pocket.  I don't mind as the rewards are endless but it does focus my eye on a bargain.

I'm growing it as an upright cordon as it had to be planted in quite a confined space. I've cut back new shoots growing from the base and mulched in the spring.  I'll prune again at the beginning of winter to cut out any new shoots and again back to two buds in spring.  Now that I know this works, I may well put another currant in.  I'd quite like a pink one next!

Redcurrants
Slowly starting to ripen in the weekend sunshine.
This is the first year that the plant has fruited. I'm looking forward to these ripening as they're lovely in a fruit salad or jelly ... or, harking back to my mum's 'Fanny Cradock' days, dipped in egg white and caster sugar to top a cheesecake or sponge.  As redcurrants are full of pectin, I'm going to make jam,  pairing mine with strawberries as they're very low in pectin*.

NB.  Redcurrants are grown like gooseberries rather than blackcurrants.  If you fancy having a go, the RHS has an excellent guide on growing redcurrants here.

  *Pectin is the stuff you need to get a good set in jam making. Apologies if you know this already. I imagine most of you will.


18 comments:

  1. I'm picking ours at the moment but watch out the blackbirds will have them if you don't net them.

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    1. Thanks for the advice, Sue! I haven't had to think about this in previous years - and my cherry trees (which I constantly think about netting) are too big for nets and the area not right for a fruit cage. I might have to put my thinking cap on for a small fruit cage to cover the redcurrants and gooseberries (when I get some).

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  2. I want a pinkcurrant too, I do have a couple of red ones & white one in the garden already. They do look rather pretty though mine have been infested my gooseberry sawfly again this year. It seems a never ending battle.

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    1. There's always one garden pest that we have to battle every year isn't there! I'm trying to go with the flow and let nature take its course in the garden so that all the bug problems even out over time. Must be super annoying though. I shall look up sawfly and be vigilant! Thanks for the warning and good luck with your currants!

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  3. Red currants are so jewel like, hanging in bunches with the sun making them glow- perfect! Our red ones ripen sooner than the blackcurrants and are almost ready to be picked, just another few days of sunshine and we will be picking.
    Well done for nurturing your little twig, you must have a real sense of achievement now that it is fruiting.

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    1. Oh I do, Pauline! I also have a tiny cherry tree nurtured from a pip fallen into the soil so I hope that will also be producing fruit one day! I love the contrast of red and green so all the soft fruit looks so pretty at this time of year but the currants definitely have my favourite look - strings of jewels, yes!

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  4. I'm not fussed so don't grow them. Glad in a way as I don't really want to faff around with netting, and then the fiddly picking of them! Flighty xx

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    1. It's important to grow what you enjoy eating, Flighty! For me, though, I enjoy growing as much as eating - it's the challenge of getting it right! - and I enjoy practically all veg and fruit! My mother is an excellent cook and taught me well so I love having fresh produce to cook.

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  5. Growing currant bushes at the allotment has bought me great pleasure Caro - have red, white and black and I think there is room for pink too. Think that they must have enjoyed all last year's rain. I'm probably well acquainted with that supermarket and its plant bargains too. Growing from small may take longer but it gives you so much more satisfaction.

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    1. I agree, Anna - It's the growing as much as the eating. If I had a proper allotment (or one of those wonderfully long back gardens) I'd have a row of currant bushes of all hues! It's hugely satisfying seeing plants go from strength to strength throughout the year - I've got rhubarb growing from seed and my herbs all seem to enjoy my company too!

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  6. I agree with Sue above - birds will strip a plant within the blink of an eye. I have put my red currants in see-through tents this year and they have ripened fast and they are safe from birds. I thought the white currant would be safe as it isn't nearly as attractive, so I didn't protect it and the fruit disappeared very suddenly and I am left with a healthy-looking fruitless shrub.

    Well done on nurturing your bargain. I guess a punnet of fruit will more than cover the cost of it!

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    1. Your comment almost had me racing straight back down to the garden to protect my currant bush! I think a netted 'cage' of some description will be my main job for today (my gardening day, now that college has finished for the summer). Thanks for the good advice!

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  7. My redcurrants are just ripening I love to see them hanging like jewels in the sunshine. Trouble is my bush is getting out of hand it is huge now and needs cutting right back - once I get in amongst the branches it is like being in a rainforest. I don't bother netting them as I have more than I can cope with anyway.

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    1. How wonderful to have so many that you can allow the birds a share! I remember one of the gardeners here growing currants on his allotment garden round the back of the flats - they were 6 feet tall and are what inspired me to plant a currant bush in the veg garden. What do you do with your currants, Elaine? I'd love to hear some of your ideas for storing or eating!

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  8. I don't have any redcurrants but I tried some white ones at the farmers' market last year and I'm tempted to get some for the plot. Although I'm knee-deep in a fruit glut at the moment so I'm not sure I need some more. :)

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    1. Ah, the fruit glut! How wonderful!! I made jam with my strawberry fruit glut, then it turns out all the strawbs came at once so (for now, maybe) they seem to be more or less finished. I think the heat did them in! The redcurrants have now ripened up, just a few strings this year but enough to make me want more! At this time of year, I always wish I had more freezer space!

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  9. Hello Caro! I did the same but about 5 years ago now and I just love the redcurrants! I make cheesecake every year :) The cheeky no bake kind, so easy! There's a lot to be said for the supermarket twig plants! My gooseberries were the same!

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  10. Hi Anna! I've just bought a gooseberry twig this year to add to the fruit patch! I love a good bargain, especially when it just keeps on giving!! I adore cheesecake, but then I also love cake, ice-cream and all sorts of summer goodies! Better watch those calories!!

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Caro x

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