Blackcurrants were traditionally used only for jams, pies and puddings, and they tasted great. More recently, there are varieties the size of small grapes which are tasty eaten by themselves, with ice cream or cream. Mixed with other fruit, they are delicious.
Blackcurrants the size of small grapes with a taste to match.
An easy crop to grow in the garden, they are however expensive in the supermarkets. Home grown, they are almost free and packed full of vitamins, especially vitamin C.
Plant Jan-May or Sept-Oct
Arguably more troublesome to grow than the other soft fruit - early flowering varieties are susceptible to late frosts and they are affected by a wide range of pests. However, they are more tolerant of wet soils and are ideal in more acid areas. And, nothing quite compares with the tart sweetness of blackcurrant jam.
They are less amenable to training that their cousins, the goosebery and red/white currants so are normally grown as a bush, which can reach 1.5m high by 1.5 wide. The key to success with blackcurrants is planting them properly - 5cm below the depth at which they were previously planted. This, along with regular pruning of older stems right back to the ground, will ensure a constant supply of the one to three-year-old growth that will produce fruit.