Black currant, how do I love thee?

Last year I stuck a couple of black currant bushes into the very edge of the ravine, at the back of my herb garden, next to the rhubarb. Planting anything here is challenging because the properties that line the ravine are built on landfill, and it’s pretty tough to dig a hole without having to pull out several slabs of old concrete block, bricks or stone.

When I planted the rhubarb the first fall after we got here, I could not believe how much crap I had to pull out just to get a decent sized spot to put it in. And I thought for sure the rhubarb wouldn’t do well as a result. But wouldn’t you believe it, that rhubarb has gone absolutely nuts back there, and I have more than I know what to do with now.

The currants have also done very well. I’ve never grown them before, and my mom hasn’t either, citing never having much success with them. On the other hand, I’ve picked and made jelly with red and white currants a number of times but they’re quite different in texture, size and even ripening habits (I’ve discovered) from black currants. The black ones seem to grow as individual berries rather than in droplet clusters, like the red and white ones.

Black currants also seem to ripen continuously, all at different times, so I’ve been picking them every few days and tossing them into the freezer until I have enough of them to do something meaningful with. I think it’ll be jam, or ideally jelly, so I don’t have to bite down on the large seeds. I have about 1.5 to 2 cups in the freezer now, and I think I’ve finished with the picking, so I’ll have to buy some more to get enough for a batch of jam or jelly. Unless I combine them with something else. But black currants are so lovely I don’t really want to dilute them. I’ve also seen a local craft beer made with black currants, so maybe, if my hubby is really nice to me and gets himself organized, I’ll let him make beer with them. My precious, first harvest of black currants!