Category Archives: Currants (Ribes)

Cornell Berry Diagnostics

The Cornell Cooperative Extensions Berry Diagnostic Tool is an excellent resource for anyone growing or interested in strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, and gooseberries. This online tool allows anyone to select a berry crop and then from a variety of descriptions of plant growth issues, deformities, discolorations, damage, or other indicator that occurs on the whole plant, flower, fruit, or vegetative to continue to diagnose the issue. Lots of photographs and links to in depth articles are included about many diagnoses to really get to the “root” of the issue. Finally, recommendations for management of the issue can be selected after referring to the images and descriptions
Citation: Cornell Cooperative Extension. 2016. Cornell Fruit Berry Diagnostic Tool. Available online: Diagnosis. Accessed: 12 October 201

Black currant ban

Growing black currants were banned in the early 1900s in the US due to their status as an alternate host in white pine blister rust.  “The federal ban on growing currants was shifted to jurisdiction of individual states in 1966, and was lifted in New York State in 2003 through the efforts of horticulturist Greg Quinn”  (Wikipedia)  Due to the creation of resistant cultivars they have been released from the ban in certain states.  I wondered why black currants are not well known around the states, however are popular in areas of Europe.  This ban removed this berry from our grasp for many years!  Here is an article about its new status in NY as of 2003 and its growing popularity:

Lots of Berries at the Palmer State Fair

I don’t often get to visit the Palmer fair, but I enjoyed seeing all the fruit displays, everything from apples to oblipika (the sea buckthorn). And then there was the odd pink mountain ash located on the fair grounds. Might be Sorbus hupehbensis ‘Pink Pagoda’. Maybe.

The Most Expensive Jam in the World?

Do you have extra money to burn, how about some jam?   Jam

Currant harvester

Talk about Currant Harvester: My mouth was watering throughout the currant section so I thought I’d investigate the possibility of a currant harvester.  This one I found looks A LOT like it was designed as an Alaskan Machine.:)  Currant Harvester

Black Currant Liqueur

How to make your own Creme de Cassis, Black Currant Liqueur.  First off, I love the name of this blog (Use Real Butter), and this is a great step-by-step way to make a fruit liqueur with berries and vodka.  (And off topic, check out how to make your own Vanilla Extract.)  Currant Liqueur

Zante “currants”

While watching Greg Quinn’s TED talk on black currants, I was slightly unnerved to find out that I was one of those suckers who thought Zante Currants were indeed currants. Zante currants look like raisins, taste like raisins, and come in a box with this warning about the occasional GRAPE STEM mixed up inside. I still never saw it coming. Surely I’ve read every food label in my cabinet except for this one…

The blow to my pride does not make the Zante Currant taste any less delicious in my oatmeal. It may be a raisin, but it’s a quality raisin. In fact, the “Black Corinth” has been with us for a long time: Pliny the Elder made mention of this “tiny Greek grape” in 75 A.D., and in 1901 the USDA’s David Fairchild was responsible for the first introduction in the U.S.

However, the future of the California Zante Currant (and really, the future of all U.S. raisins) may be in jeopardy. Greece’s “above-average yield” in 2014 flooded the export market and kept prices for California exports from rising. A rise in price is necessary to justify the expense for the farmers. Couple that with a “lack of labor” and historic drought conditions and you have many farms ripping out their vines and replacing at least a portion of their land with more lucrative nut crops.

References:  Fitchette, T. 2015. RBA achieves $1,900 for 2014 Zante Currant raisin crop. Available online:, Accessed 18 October 2105.  Northcutt, G. 2015. Following bloom, water for irrigation remains a big concern for raisin grape growers. Available online: Accessed 18 October 2015.  University of California Integrated Viticulture. Zante Currant. Available online: Accessed 18 October 2015.