Redcurrants A Complete Guide

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I love redcurrants; they are easy to grow, very productive and will provide a substantial crop for years to come.

Red Currants

They form into beautiful clumps of ripe fruit and are perfect for jellies, juices and as flavouring for savoury dishes such as game and lamb. It is worth buying a couple of young plants, they really are easy to grow, some sunlight is preferred to help sweeten the berries but they will grow happily in most sites. Mine have been trained in a fan shape but they are just as productive as a cordon or trained against a wall or fence. I cut the shoots back quite hard before winter and then a second, lighter one in summer.

So far I have not encountered any problem with pests other than hungry birds although sawfly can be a problem. A fruit cage is the best way of protecting your crops and they need it because a good batch of fruits will be required to make a worthwhile jelly.

Redcurrants are wonderful just warmed through a light game gravy or dropped into a casserole of venison just before serving but for me, best of all is as a jelly with hot or cold cuts of roast lamb.

Redcurrant Jelly
3 kg or 6lb Redcurrants
Sugar and Water

Place washed fruit in a pan and just cover with cold water. Cook on a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the fruits have turned to a soft pulp put them into a jelly bag and leave to drip into a bowl. Measure the juice and stir in 500g or 1lb of sugar for every 600 ml (one pint) of juice. Put back into a pan and bring to the boil. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved and then boil hard to setting point. Pour into warm, sterilized jars.

Content and picture Miles Collins