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Most chefs and gourmands find redcurrants as both a visual and a culinary gusto. When it comes to soil quality, you should know that they prefer fertile, well-drained yet moist soil.
Another thing to remember is to keep them well-supplied with nutrients by spreading a mulch of well-rotted manure or garden compost several times a year.
As with all fruits, they need a sunlit spot although they could still crop well in a semi-shaded corner. However, it is way better to grow redcurrants in an open ground as they thrive much better and are much easier to maintain in such environment.
If there is a need for great quantities of redcurrants, they can be grown in large containers as well, or in a half-barrel, filled with loam-based compost. Once they are established and upright, these plants are quite easy to take care of.
The trick is to keep the soil regularly moist, especially when the fruits are beginning to form.
Additionally, it is important to feed and mulch the plants to keep them vigorous and cropping well.
By making minimum effort, you will have healthy and abundant crop, and only a couple of bushes will yield pounds of juicy fruits for delicious jellies, puddings, sauces, marmalades… you name it!
Here’s how to do it:
1.The best season for planting bare-root [or container plants] is in-between early spring and fall.
Pot-grown redcurrants can also be planted successfully when in leaf, if watered regular in dry climates.
Dig lots of garden compost into a hole large enough to seat the root ball of the plant, and knock it out of the pot.
2. Place the roots in the hole while backfilling with soil and firming thoroughly.
Redcurrants may be grown as bushes, set apart 3 feet (about 1 meter).
If you are coming short of space, you could grow cordons, on a single stem, spaced 2 feet (little more than half a meter) apart.
In order to achieve this, simply prune out all the stems to leave just 1 single central leader as a cordon framework.
3. Using soft twine, carefully tie in the selected lead stem to a sturdy cane support as figure-of-eight (8) knot.
As the plant grows during its 1st year of cultivation, tie the main stem in at regular intervals.
At the point when the stem reaches the desired height (up to a maximum of 2 meters), prune back the growing tip to a bud.
4. As the redcurrants’ cordon continues growing, it will produce side shoots, which should be cut back to 2 buds from the base in the month of July every year.
In this way, you will encourage ‘spurs’ which will carry the fruit itself.
As the main stem starts to thicken, check the ties regularly, and replace them if they are getting too tight. Note: Your red cordon should fruit in the second year after planting.
Nutritional benefits of redcurrants
In a 100 gram serving, redcurrants (or white) supply 56 calories, and are a valuable source of vitamin C, providing 49% of the recommended daily value (RDV). The only other essential nutrient in redcurrants is vitamin K [in significant amount of 10% of RDV].
Some Ribes fruits, such as red and blackcurrants, are known for their tart flavor, a characteristic provided by a relatively high content of their organic acids and mixed polyphenols.
Up to 65 different phenolic compounds may contribute to the astringent properties of redcurrants, with these contents increasing during the last month of ripening. Another 25 individual polyphenols and other nitrogen-containing phytochemicals in redcurrant juice have been isolated specifically with the astringent flavor profile sensed in the human tongue.
Culinary uses of redcurrant berries
The tart flavor of the redcurrant fruit is slightly greater than of its blackcurrant relative as they maturate, but with the same approximate sweetness. The albino variants of redcurrant berries, often referred to as white currant berries, offer the same tart flavor, though with greater sweetness.
Although frequently cultivated for jams and cooked preparations (similarly to white currants), they are often served raw or as a simple accompaniment in garnishes, salads, or drinks when in season.
In the U.K., the redcurrant jelly is a condiment often served with lamb meat, then game meat including venison, and sometimes with turkey and goose meat in a festive or Sunday roast. It is essentially a jam since it is prepared in the same way, by adding the redcurrants to sugar, boiling, and finally straining.
By comparison, in France, the highly rarefied and hand-made Bar-le-duc (or Lorraine) jelly is a spreadable paste, traditionally made from white currants or alternatively redcurrants. The pips are taken off by hand with a goose feather, before cooking.
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