Thumbs down (unfortunately) to Minaj Smyriou blackcurrant

lycheeluva(6/7)June 27, 2008

My 2 year old Minaj Smyriou blackcurrant bush has ripened and unfortunately, I find the taste to be inadequate for out of hand eating. The taste ranged from sour when underripe to slightly sour and strong (not in a good way)tasting when ripe. Its a shame because the bush is extremely vigorous and very pretty, but with my limited space, if a fruit doesnt taste great, I have to rip it out and dump it.

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I tried several cultivars about 10-15 years ago, some of the "Ben" series from Scotland, as well as 'Consort,' 'Crandall' and the 'Jostaberry' ... unfortunately, whether raw or cooked, all of them to me tasted like Bing cherries marinated in original formula Listerine. Must definitely be an acquired taste. I still have a few of the bushes, mostly as ornamentals.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 11:25AM
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Cooking them will produce a wonderful flavor, at least to my taste. The jelly I made a couple of years ago from my Minaj Smyriou, with some black raspberries and a few gooseberries thrown in, was one of the best I have ever tasted. Aronia berries are the same, terrible raw, but excellent cooked.

My clove currants have a slightly peculiar flavor, but I would certainly not describe it as Listerine! I have not tried them cooked yet, but I am picking lots of Crandall berries right now, so I'll make a test batch of jelly and see how it turns out.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 12:17PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

LL, I am getting a few berries off my young Minaj Smyriou plants now and they are tasting very good to me. Do you have other black currants to compare them with? It was the least bad-strong of the three varieties I had at one point. All black currants take a bit of adapting to for fresh eating. I have only noticed the sour flavor in the underripe ones.

Black currants are also an odd enough flavor that they may have markedly different taste to different people.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 12:18PM
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No other black currants. the taste was not terrible by any means but was far from good. if i had a large yard, i would leave it in and maybe try and make juice or jelly, but given my tiny yard, the plant had to go which is a great shame coz i hate killing plants and it was a beutiful and productive shrub.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 12:36PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I can understand that -- gotta be brutal. I have created many yards of compostt from all the plants I have dug up and composted. Black currants are definitely a love-em-or-hate-em for fresh eating... I love 'em.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 10:20PM
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I am with Dennis on this one, having discovered years ago with my first blackcurrant bush that I have no use for this fruit. I acknowledge that the blackcurrant changes dramatically when prepared in jam or preserves, and if I were a British or Scottish person I might persist. But there are so many other good things to make the well-known Jellyman jellies and jams (there is no Jam Man insofar as I know) that I really don't need another with a slightly foul taste.

If you think blackcurrants taste bad, try growing an Aronia bush. I have three out there that have stayed only because they are out of the way and kind of pretty, but I would give them to you if I could. Viking variety. Yet, there are many people who take Aronia seriously. There is just no accounting for taste.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 12:22AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Jellyman. I love Aronia, they are very good cooked and more importantly very healthful. I like them better than black currants because they are soooo much easier to pick, hanging in clusters that all ripen at once. Currants are such a pain to pick and the last couple of years have started having some kind of maggot in them that is very off-putting. But for flavor cooked, I would take black currants over Aronia. And I can stand to eat them as a gelatin dessert without straining out the seeds and skins like I do Aronia. Aronia are still one of the best anti-oxidant fruits you can grow.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 7:53PM
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Last fall I made over 4 gallons of pure Aronia juice with my steamer/juicer and froze it in gallon jugs. It was a lot of work, and I am determined to use it, so I am blending it gradually with other juices like grape and orange, about 1/4 glass Aronia and the rest other juice.

I have also read about the anti-oxidants in Aronia, and if its color is any indication it has a lot of them. You could dye t-shirts with this stuff. But if I use more than 4:1 in the mix, the astringent taste of the Aronia comes through loud and clear. The bushes are covered with little berries again this season, but not sure I will go through the hours of work to process them.

The good news is that I don't feel oxidized at all.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 9:14PM
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