Your Favorite Red Currant ??

Dave_Grows(Sunset 15/17 and Z9b)June 17, 2012

Hello Everyone,

Tell me about your favorite red currant - and why you like its flavor the most.

I'm doing site selection now - which is tough because I'm choosing between too shady and too hot. But I'll give it a shot.

Am still deciding on which red currant cultivar to choose.

- DaveGrows

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mrsg47(7)

Hi! I have really enjoyed 'Red Lake' currants in the past,but I found the berries to be a bit small. Jonkeer Von Tets is my new favorite and has a very large bright red berry.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Dave_Grows(Sunset 15/17 and Z9b)

Thanks for your reply, MrsG47. Between "Red Lake" and the Jonkeer von Tets, do you think one has a more satisfying taste?

I'm not too worried about berry size, as I plan to use them in preserves.

And did the "Red Lake" suffer much from mildew problems in your area? I've read that powedery mildew can be a problem with "Red Lake".

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 11:51PM
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armyofda12mnkeys(7a, Philly, PA)

I heard Rovada is a really good one too. I have Jonkeer von Tets cause after some research i think those two scored pretty high. Currants and Gooseberries i heard do better in the shade than in full sun. Mine are growing fine on east side of the house.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 12:09AM
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murkwell

Does the flavor vary much between varieties of red currants? I chanced into several red currant bushes when I bought my house.

The fruit are beautiful but the flavor to me is just sort of generic tart fruit like a bit of citric acid and a smidge of sugar. They are a bit of fun to eat but not something I crave or really look forward to like black currants or raspberries.

I just assumed thats what red currants are like, but if there are more flavorful, interesting or delicious varieties I'd like to try them.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 1:29AM
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olga_6b

My favorite red is Rovada. Red currants do differ in taste, but they all are on the sour side and are not as flavorable as black currants or raspberries. Red currants (as well as black) are much more tasty and less sour when grown in sunny location. Shade, like with most other fruits, results in less sugar and more bland taste. Jams and preserves are good anyway, just will require more sugar, but for fresh eating difference is significant.

I never grew currants in zones warmer than 7, so if you are deep in the south your experience can be different.
Olga

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 8:50AM
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mrsg47(7)

The only sweet currant in my current rows is 'Champagne' which is a pink currant. You can eat it right from the plant. My Red currant "Jonkeer" is grown in the sun has bright deep red berries but is sour. Olga is correct. Most currants that are not 'Black' are less distinctively flavorful. I use my red currants for making tarts and pies. I had no mildew problems with 'Red Lake'.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 9:45AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I am zone pushing and bought both a Red Lake red currant and a gooseberry. I did look for a partially shady zone for them where the heat of the day does not get them.

I am not sure when everyone's plants return to green or bloom. So this is all a new experience for me. So far, they look good, are a couple of feet tall and no flowers yet.

But this is SoCal so who knows when they will do something if at all. I did buy them from a fairly local nursery, but they are in a different zone than me.

Crossing my fingers, a gooseberry would bring us back to picking them off the bushes in my grandmothers garden in Denmark

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 11:44AM
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mrsg47(7)

I do prefer the Jonkeer over the Red Lake. When you are making jams, jellies and tarts, since currants already have so many seeds, the larger berry of Jonkeer gives you more berry! Also should you want to remove the seeds at least you have a berry you can hold withouth squashing.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 5:32PM
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Dave_Grows(Sunset 15/17 and Z9b)

Hi, thanks for all the reponses. You're great to take the time to do it.

@armyofda12mnkeys: Rovada and Jonkeer von Tets are both on my "short list" of red currants. How do you like the taste of the Jonkeer von Tets ??

@murky: I don't remember eating uncooked red currants, but I do want to make red currant jelly (jam?). I still remember the wonderful taste of my Grandmother's red currant jelly / jam, bolstered by the memories of red currant or lingonberry jelly that I had in Europe some years ago.

@olga: I'm in zone 9b, in California, near San Jose. So I'm lucky there is no humidity here like in Deep South. I will try to give the plants as much sun as I can, but might use a lattice to cut back sun during hottest part of day. Why is Rovada your favorite?

@MrsG47: thanks for telling me no mildew problems with your "Red Lake" currants. My adobe soil is powdery mildew heaven for some tender plants. "Red Lake" and "Wilder" are on my short list too. When making preserves, how do you rate "Red Lake" vs. "Jonkeer" - on taste alone?

@Kippy-the-Hippy: Our Grandmothers both set us on the path to this forum. You - when you picked them in your Grandmother's garden in Denmark; me - when I had my Grandmother's delicious red currant jelly. Your plants should grow fine in S. California - but getting enough "chill hours" to set a lot of fruit could be a problem. I may be on the edge of that myself. Best of luck.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:51AM
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Campanula UK Z8

JvT is a really great berry, imo, although I usually make jelly. We have all got to be a little spoiled and now only eat preserves which have been strained through muslin, leaving pulp and seeds to compost. Wasteful but sooooo indulgent. I do hate picking though and have started new currants as 2 caned cordons.
Oh yeah, JvT holds on the bushes for weeks and weeks in good condition - a big plus.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 6:34AM
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mrsg47(7)

For taste I'd go with Jonkeer. I hope you're going to buy goose quills, if you're making Bar Le Duc sauce!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 10:34AM
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spartan-apple

Sorry I cannot say which red currant tastes best. I just wanted to reply to the person who mentioned making currant jelly. Currant is one of my favorites! When I was young, we grew Red Lake currant for jelly. We also grew Pixwell gooseberry. One day on a hunch, my sister and I made
currant-gooseberry jelly. WOW! It was a hit with everyone
who tried it. MIx the two fruits together and the flavor
is really something to behold.

Someday I will grow currants again. Since my friend commercially grows fruit and makes jelly commercially, I just buy my currant jelly from him.

He had tried many currant varieties and prefers Rovada over
all the rest.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:54AM
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Dave_Grows(Sunset 15/17 and Z9b)

Thanks for your input too, this is a great forum.

@campanula: Like you I intend to make jelly from any red currants I manage to grow. Thanks for the details on "Jonkheer", it sounds great that currants will hold on bushes for long time like that. When you strain with muslin - are you doing that with the preserves after they are finished, or straining smashed "raw" currants before you cook them down ??

@MrsG47: You floored me when you mentioned goose quills. Had no idea what you meant, then looked up the Bar Le Duc sauce. Sounds quite good, but I'll leave the geese alone - not that there are any around here. You might enjoy this link:

http://www.saveur.com/article/Kitchen/The-Almost-Lost-Art-of-Bar-Le-Duc

@spartan-apple: I'm the one who mentioned making red currant jelly. And I still remember taste of my Grandmother's currant jelly from some 50 years ago. The idea of mixing currants wth something else is inspired. Have you mixed them with anything else besides gooseberries ??

My Report to You: Depending on space in my back yard, I will buy 2 plants - Rovada and Jonkheer von Tets. It will be VERY hard to wait until the older canes start producing fruit. May have to haunt the local farmers markets for some red currants in the mean time.

Thanks so much to all of you for your help, and feedback. You're great.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 1:37AM
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spartan-apple

Dave:

To answer your question, no I have not. I have made plain
red currant jelly or red currant/gooseberry jelly. I have
not tried mixing currants with any other fruit.

I wonder how a currant/raspberry jelly would taste?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 11:47AM
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olga_6b

Currant/raspberry jelly tastes fantastic. I did it many times.
Olga

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 2:02PM
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mrsg47(7)

The currants (all types) that I have are from Norse Farms. They all blossomed and fruited their first year. Tiny strigs of about ten berries each but worth the first taste! Mrs. G PS: Have been to Dutriez, but plan on making my own Bar le Duc sauce!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 2:06PM
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Dave_Grows(Sunset 15/17 and Z9b)

@spartan-apple: currant/raspberry jelly sounds VERY good.

@MrsG47: You're certainly ambitious to make your own Bar le Duc sauce. I just had modern idea about speeding up the process, although the French would kill me for suggesting it: Smash up the red currnt berries, and then use a cengtrifuge to separate the seeds from red currant flesh and juice ??

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 10:06PM
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larry_gene

An auger-type juicer using the screen or sieve insert will accomplish the de-seeding.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 11:33PM
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mrsg47(7)

Sure is not the 'Authentic' technique, but you have my attention. It is still sold and is very expensive per jar. Only white currants qualify for true 'Bar le Duc' sauce, never red currants. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 6:38AM
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Campanula UK Z8

re;jelly making
I get the fruit nice and soft by simmering, for around 5minutes or so - not too long, without sugar, until the skins are very soft and the juice can be strained through muslin. I have used various methods, ranging from tying a muslin square to the legs under a kitchen chair - currently I use an old metal clothes airer. Don't buy any jelly kits - they never hold enough juice and cost lots - I just buy the muslin from the haberdashery, by the square metre. Cheesecloth is OK too.
I leave it to drain all night and then add the sugar and do the boiling - you could get a sugar thermometer but I still mainly use the back of a wooden spoon for finding the setting point.
Redcurrant jelly is just lovely, either on its own or mixed with other summer fruits. I mix and match all of mine, depending on what is cropping well (have had virus issues with raspberries for a few years).

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:05PM
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Dave_Grows(Sunset 15/17 and Z9b)

@larry_gene: The juicer is a great idea, but what about if you want to keep all of the currant flesh, skins, and juice? Won't a juicer remove the skins, seeds, and pulp? [don't have an auger type juicer, so not sure how it works]

@campanula: So if I understand you correctly, you strain out the seeds and pulp, and only keep the juice to boil down? To make red currant jam, any ideas on how to keep the pulp and skins with the juice, but elimnate the seeds?

I'm asking, because I have to believe that some easier technique has come along to get rid of the seeds, but retain the skins, pulp & juice - instead of using goose quills. [sorry, MrsG]

So far, a "fruit pulper" or food mill looks like it might work.

Anyone know of a "fruit pulper" that is made and sized for home use ??

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 2:48AM
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Dave_Grows(Sunset 15/17 and Z9b)

Followup by Dave:

I've done lots of online research to find ways to make it simpler to eliminate seeds, while retaining juice and pulp of currants. I think these might work, but please check them out, before you plunk down any money:

FOOD MILL: would probably work OK with raw or parboiled fruit (?), but you would need fine mesh disc to catch the seeds. The skins would probably be mostly removed (?).

FOOD STRAINER: many types of these, the more expensive ones are hand-cranked or motor-driven. One example is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZBa0bwKjBg

Some food strainers say they won't work with pomegranates, so I'm not sure if they would work with currants. And the skins would be mostly eliminated if using screen small enough to remove the seeds.

FRUIT PULPER (?): I wasn't able to find a home version of this. They appear to be mostly large commercial equipment, or parts of commercial equipment used in mass production.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 3:46PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

If you are serious about this you may want to find a local store that does demonstrations of the Bosch Universal kitchen machine. I have had mine for 20 years now and have made EVERYTHING with it for my family of 6 boys. They have a berry attachment, which I have, but have not used on small-seeded berries.

BTW: I have no commercial interest in the Bosch Universal, but I do highly recommend it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bosch Universal Plus - Berry Press Attachment

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 6:27PM
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Dave_Grows(Sunset 15/17 and Z9b)

@milehighgirl: Thanks for your suggestion. I just looked it up, and it has a "berry press" which attaches to the meat grinder attachment.

Have you used this one device (with attachments) as a mixer, food processor, and food strainer? If well-made, it may be worth the price. I wonder if they are still as well-made as your 20-year old model.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 9:51PM
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armyofda12mnkeys(7a, Philly, PA)

Dave_Grows, I didn't get really get fruit off them this year so can't really give you taste results. I decided to grow them mostly for looks so I am growing them as nice looking Cordon's so maybe that contributed to not much fruit this 2nd year since I pinched off other shoots from growing (So looks like 3 straight little trunks instead of a bushy plant). I growing 2 Jonkeer and 2 whites (White Imperial and Primus). Think the White Imperial produced this year.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 12:10PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Dave_Grows, I have not had enough fruit yet to use the berry press. I've used the meat grinder attachment many times; I used it for a coffee grinder for years. I actually think they have made improvements since I bought mine. The ball-bearings are now made of stainless steel and the motor is stronger and quieter.

The one great thing about the Bosch is that they continue to use parts that are interchangeable. Even after all these years I can get parts to fit mine. I dropped the slicer/shredder top and it cracked, but it was simple to order another.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 2:47PM
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Dave_Grows(Sunset 15/17 and Z9b)

@armyofda12mnkeys: The cordons sound like a good idea. Have thought about doing that and training them to rest up against a fence to save space. You think that would block air flow too much? I keep reading about currants needing plenty of air flow, presumably to lessen chances of mildew, etc.

@milehighgirl: I've always heard good things about Bosch. And the interchangeable parts sounds like a dream come true. Weird thing is when I looked online for prices, I couldn't find a local store that carries it. Too high-end for many places I guess. Of course Amazon has it, but I'd like to actually see one.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 12:55AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Dave_Grows, If I knew where you live I might be able to help find a distributor that does demonstrations. Send me a PM and I'll try.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 10:40AM
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larry_gene

An auger-type juicer (Omega and other brands)(masticating is another search term) will result in a red currant puree--juice and pulp. The seeds and a percentage of skin will be ejected. There is an adjustment to control the squeeze force and resulting dryness of the ejecta (meaning the part you keep will be moister or juicier).

I have used mine on seaberries, evergreen huckleberries, and goumi. For pure juice works best on harder items like quince, carrots, even rhubarb.

Caneberry input results in seedless pureed output.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 11:25PM
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Dave_Grows(Sunset 15/17 and Z9b)

@milehighgirl: Thanks so much, I'll send you message now. But I should tell you that I just went ahead and ordered a vintage "Squeezo" with all the attachments. I'll try to keep you posted on how well it works. My mouth is already watering at prospect of homemade red currant preserves.

@larry_gene: Thanks for your info that some auger-type machines allows user to adjust squeeze force. Have you used your juicer on red currants?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 8:54PM
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malaec(z6 NJ)

Do you guys add sugar to you currant juice to make jelly? My grandma used to make absolutely delicious clear red currant jelly just by mixing 1:1 raw red currant juice and sugar, and pouring it into jars. For some reason, when I tried to use the same recipe, I end up with juice not jelly... Shall I boil the juice, or reduce the amount of sugar? Also do you store the jelly in the fridge or pantry? Thanks! :)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 12:36PM
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larry_gene

...not specifically on red currants, but evergreen huckleberries are a similar fruit, multiple small seeds. Seaberry is a juicy fruit with one internal seed, same size as currants.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 12:31AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

malaec. I make red currant jelly every year. Jelly won't set without heat. Heat up the currants with a little water until the juice runs. Pour the berries into a clean jelly bag, old pillow case or muslin square and hang over a bowl over night. Don't be tempted to push or squeeze the pulp or the jelly will be cloudy. Measure the juice. For every pint of juice add a pound of sugar. Bring to the boil until setting point is reached. Being a lackadaisical, germ-laden European I then pour the jelly into sterilized jars, put a lid on and stick it on a shelf. The people on the Harvest Forum would be horrified so you'd better ask over there for the safe, hygienic US way of canning jams and jellies.

Here is a link that might be useful: Harvest Forum

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 6:52AM
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olga_6b

LOL, Flora. I do the same thing with my jams and jellies as you do.
Running for cover :)
Olga

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 10:36AM
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olga_6b

Just made a batch of red currant jelly from Rovada. I don't add pectin, just beries and sugar. It forms a jello as soon as it cools down. The color is fantastic and taste is even better :)
Olga

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 11:54AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I agree Olga, no need for pectin with red currants. The jelly is gorgeous and garnet like. We eat it with roast lamb.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 12:52PM
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