I’m a firm believer whitecurrants are an essential on an event allotment. They’re hard to find in the shops and if you do they’re hideously expensive. It’s hardly surprising; mature bushes take up a fair footprint and they tie up the ground for the entire year, yet crop only once, but these little flavour-bombs are worth their weight in pretty much any currency.
I like to eat them fresh; unlike redcurrants which can be too sharp for anything but cooking, white currants are sweet enough to be eaten on their own, yet with a tang that sets them apart from some other, cloyingly sweet berry fruits.
I grow whitecurrant Blanca – if I’m honest, it was the only variety I could find when I wanted to plant them. I’m happy with it, as I say the berries are sweeter than I expected and, on two-year old plants have yielded about 150-200g per plant. I envisage this improving as the plants mature. They are in large pots, which get a hefty top dressing of well-rotted horse manure each year.
The tiny flowers are so delicate you could miss them, but the pollinators don’t. This has been a poor year, with lots of rain, so the strigs are a little sparser than last year, but there was clearly still enough insect activity to make a very respectable crop.
I haven’t noticed any real problems or pests (fingers crossed) but I do net them against the birds (when harvesting I leave a few for the birds, it’s only fair, given their helping me out with bugs the rest of the year). I keep them watered (it’s not been difficult this year, of course) and er, that’s it.
Given you’ll pay upwards of £3.50 – £4.00 for a pathetically small punnet, most people just use them as garnishes, but if you grow your own you’ll get a decent enough amount to play with. I’ve been eating them fresh with home-made vanilla ice cream but I still have enough to experiment with. I’m planning on trying a sorbet if I get time – there is still about 450g-worth of berries in my fridge.