Edible Articles: Ribes

Fields: Currants (Nordic) | Black currant restrictions | Diagnosing a sick currant bush | What can I do with red currants... | pharmacy pot | Black Currant Recipes

Currants (Nordic)

From: David Dermott (nstn1181@fox.nstn.ca)
Subject: Currants (Nordic)
Newsgroups: soc.culture.nordic
Date: 2000/08/03

3 Aug 2000, Renia (PSimmonds@cwcom.net) skrev:
> We know that redcurrants and blackcurrants are not grapes. They are not the
> same thing, in English, as currants, which are dried seedless grapes. But
> these are the words we use, even if they are wrong. Languages are full of the
> wrong usages of words.
> Renia

About the currant/grape/ribes problem. I bought a bag of dried currants, they were also labelled "Raisins de Corinthe" in French Canadian. They taste and look like dried grapes. But I'm sure that several months ago I had some currants that tasted more like black currant juice (solbaer toddy in Norway). Black currant is "cassis" in French. I think red currants are called "groseille" in French.

I looked up a few words in the online Norwegian dictionary - "http://www.dokpro.uio.no/ordboksoek.html"

<RIPS> m1 (gj mlat fra arab) (røde el. hvite bær av) busk av
slekten Ribes i sildrefamilien hager-, villr- .

<SOLBÆR> (trol fra lty el. fris, sol- besl med geng salo
'mørkfarget', ghty salo 'uklar', smbl med sol) bær av planten Ribes
nigrum i bergsildrefamilien .

<KORINT> korin´t m1 (etter byen Korint i Hellas) liten steinfri, tørket
drue .

I found a good reference for Ribes currants at:

>Ribes spp.
> Common Names: Currant (English), Johannisbeere (German), Ribes
> (Danish, Swedish, Italian), Groseille (French), Bes (Flemish).
> The English word 'currant' has been used for this fruit only since
> 1550, taken from the fruit's resemblance to the dried currants of
> Greece, raisins made from a small seedless grape. The much older
> English name 'ribes' is of ancient Indo-European origin and is common
> to other languages.

There is a good reason why Ribes currants are little known to people in the USA. Until recently, the cultivation, sale and possession of Ribes species was illegal in USA!

Currants and gooseberries (Ribes) carry a disease that is fatal to the white pine, an important commercial tree. In 1918 the US government put a ban on Ribes that lasted until 1968. Some states like Maine still have bans on growing black currants although they may not enforce the ban. In Canada there was no ban on currants.

David Dermott , Wolfville Ridge, Nova Scotia, Canada
email: nstn1181@fox.nstn.ca
WWW pages: http://fox.nstn.ca/~nstn1181/

Black currant restrictions

From: Ribes60 (ribes60@aol.com)
Subject: Black currant restrictions
Newsgroups: sci.agriculture.fruit
Date: 1998/08/23

<What are the legal considerations on black currents these days? At least one book I've got says they're banned in some places due to being the host for white pine blister rust.

Mark Zenier mzenier@eskimo.com mzenier@netcom.com Washington State resident>

Mark, at the present time there are 17 states with some kind of restriction on currants and/or gooseberries. Most of these are in the Northeast and a few in the Great Lakes region. There is no restriction in the state of Washington. Some ribes (currants and gooseberries) are susceptible to and are alternate hosts to White Pine Blister Rust, that has been the basis for restrictions. In the Pacific Northwest Blister Rust is endemic and there are so many wild ribes that restriction of cultivated plants probably makes no difference one way or the other.

Most of Washington State is very conducive to growing currants and gooseberries and they are grown commercially in some places. Black currants are gaining popularity, but are nor readily available.

If I can be of further help, let me know

Ed Mashburn

Diagnosing a sick currant bush

From: Michael Lacy (mglacy@lamar.ColoState.EDU)
Subject: Diagnosing a sick currant bush
Newsgroups: rec.gardens.edible
Date: 2000/06/15

I have several different kinds of currants and gooseberries planted in close proximity. All of a sudden, one of the black currants ("Coronet"), a two-year old plant that previously had flourished, is dying. Jagged bands of brown about 1/8" across are appearing across the leaves, followed by browning and death of the leaves. As near as I can tell, there are no insect pests on the plant.

Any diagnostic ideas, including places to look for information about diseases in Ribes species? I'd hate to see this disease spread to my other Ribes plants.

Regards, =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-= Mike Lacy, Ft Collins CO 80523 voice (970) 491-6721 fax (970) 491-2191

From: Pat Kiewicz (kiewicz@mw.mediaone.net)
Subject: Re: Diagnosing a sick currant bush
Newsgroups: rec.gardens.edible
Date: 2000/06/16

The only page I could come up with that had any detail is here:


One page I found the described black currants as prone to 'a number of diseases' and gave a list of published articles by Norwegian researchers. But there doesn't seem to be much detailed information out there (in English) readily available to search engines. That may be because black currant has been an unwelcome plant in the US for many years due to its association with white pine blister rust.
-- Pat in Plymouth MI
"The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance." Robert R. Coveyou
"Il faut cultiver notre jardin." Voltaire

From: Alf Christophersen (alf.christophersen@basalmed.uio.no)
Subject: Re: Diagnosing a sick currant bush
Newsgroups: rec.gardens.edible
Date: 2000/06/16

On 15 Jun 2000 16:43:50 -0700, Michael Lacy <mglacy@lamar.ColoState.EDU> wrote:

Could it be the rust that Wheymouth pine is hosting which has black currant as the other host. It is said over here that you cannot grow black currant at a nearer distance than 5 km if you have Wheymouth pine in your neighbourhood (and thus it is forbidden in most countries in Europe, but in US it is one of the inhabitants, so it is difficult to do anything about it, I guess)

What can I do with red currants...

From: Chris Diefenderfer (diefenderfer@earthlink.net)
Subject: What can I do with red currants...
Newsgroups: rec.food.preserving
Date: 2001-05-18 22:02:54 PST

besides jelly? Our currant bushes are loaded this year - won't be ripe for awhile but I still have jelly from the last 2 years so I'd like to do something else with them this year. Can I can, freeze, or dehydrate them? Make wine??? I'd appreciate any recipes, ideas, or suggestions. Thanks!

Chris Bonny Brook Farm Washington State, USA diefenderfer@earthlink.net

From: Ellen Wickberg (egw@paralynx.com)
Subject: Re: What can I do with red currants...
Newsgroups: rec.food.preserving
Date: 2001-05-18 23:30:12 PST

If you freeze some, you can use them later to mix with other berries to make summer pudding. If you have never made it, I can post a recipe. Ellen

From: Henriette Kress (hetta@saunalahti.fi)
Subject: Re: What can I do with red currants...
Newsgroups: rec.food.preserving
Date: 2001-05-18 23:53:51 PST

You can't dry them, that's for sure. I've tried.

First, their seeds are too large (so crush the berries through a sieve, if you do this -- leaving the stones on the other side).

Second, they're extremely sour. Drying doesn't change that one bit; in fact, drying could possibly bring that sourness out even more.

Black currant has the same largish seeds, but there the taste more than makes up for all the seeds you have to dig out of your teeth afterwards. Yum, dried black currant mush!

(Oh, and much of what's called black currant in the US is in fact Ribes aureum. You know which you have by crushing a leaf: if it's got a heavenly scent (and lots of scented tiny yellow dots underneath) it's Ribes nigrum. If not, it's Ribes aureum.)

Cheers Henriette

-- hetta@saunalahti.fi Helsinki, Finland http://ibiblio.org/herbmed Medicinal and Culinary herbFAQs, pics, database, neat stuff, archives...

pharmacy pot

From: Roger Whitehead (rgw@office-futures.com)
Subject: Re: pharmacy pot
Newsgroups: sci.bio.botany
Date: 2001-02-22 15:00:02 PST

In article <3A956149.CD826081@mail.bio.tamu.edu>, Monique Reed wrote:
> But... but...! There are currants and there are currants, right? I
> was under the impression that "currant" in Europe will get you
> _Ribes_, but here in the U.S., it gets you the teeny little black
> grape raisin


In Britain, at least, "currant" on its own still refers to a dried grape. The (self-applied) nickname of one of the British tabloid newspapers, The Sun, is The Currant Bun -- and currant buns are definitely made with "teeny little black grape raisins", as are lots of other cakes and pastries.

While it is true that there are several plants of the genus Ribes called "Currant", such as Redcurrant (R. rubrum) and Blackcurrant (R. nigrum), these are misapplied names that have worked their way into general use.

As long ago as 1578, Henry Lyte referred to "Ribes rubrum; in English Redde Gooseberries, Bastard Corinthes" and, in 1629, Parkinson wrote of "Those berries..usually called red currans are not those currans..that are sold at the Grocers".

It's just another example of false linking in nomenclature, somewhat like the Horse and Common Chestnut and Lesser and Greater Celandine, neither member of either pair being at all related.

> And I always thought "raisin" was "raisin'", short for raising, from
> raising-of-the-sun, since the grapes were dried in the sun. I've even
> seen "raisin's o' the sun" in print. Perhaps the author was
> inventing?

A lovely story, but sheer horsefeathers, alas.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Roger Whitehead, Oxted, Surrey, England

Black Currant Recipes

From: Henriette Kress (HeK@hetta.pp.fi)
Subject: Re: Black Currant Recipes
Newsgroups: rec.food.preserving
Date: 1997/03/11

On Tue, 11 Mar 1997 10:13:25, sleister@netcarrier.com (Barbara Mainhart) wrote in rec.food.preserving:

>I'm interested in getting recipes for jams, jellies, old-fashioned cordials
>and wines using black currants.

You have the -real- stuff? Boy, you're in for a treat. Take a bite out of a leaf, or flower, too, while you're at it, they are -excellent-.

But only if you have Ribes nigrum. There is something that has berries that taste somewhat like R.nigrum, but the leaves betray it: bland tasting leaves? No taste at all in them? It's R.aureum, cultivar 'R.-nigrum?-what-a-joke'.

So, some things to get you going: You got a steam juicer? That's one of those biiig pots where you add water at the bottom, berries at the top, and start to get juice in the middle after an hour or two? If you don't have one, get one. You can make juice without it, in a normal pot, but it's -lots- of trouble.

Normal juice (I guess that's what you mean with cordials):
7 liters water
10 liters berries
sugar to taste (not really needed, if I add any at all I add at most half a
liter) Rinse berries, no need to clean out stems, but you might wish to clean out all dead leaves and brown berries. Pour berries and water into your steam juicer, add sugar to berries, let stew, start pouring hot (straight from the tap in the side of your steam juicer) into prepared bottles after an hour or so. Close with prepared lids while hot.

The same in a pot:
1 liter water
10 liters berries
sugar to taste Clean berries like above, add to pot, add water, let boil on low heat for some time. Let run thru a sieve, pour into a clean pot, add sugar, bring to a boil, pour hot into prepared bottles, add prepared lids, let cool.

These juices should be enjoyed with 4 parts water to 1 part juice.

Oh yes, if you picked too many unripe berries, and your juice turned to jelly in the bottles, don't worry, it'll turn to juice again if you pour hot water over the bottles. But you knew that.

------- Make juice of just ripe berries, let boil to the jelly test, pour into prepared glasses, put prepared lid on, let cool. Or the easy way (or if your berries are picked past their jellying prime): add jelly sugar (over here that's sugar with pectin in it). Or add pectin, or anything else that will make things yell (wordgame intended).

Jam for the freezer
1 liter water
10 liters berries
sugar to taste Clean berries well, remove stems and anything else that isn't a berry. Pour into biig pot, add water, add sugar, bring to a boil, let boil gently until berries are soft (15-30 minutes). Rub thru one of those sieve thingies (round and round and round we go...) (usually I do this for apples but it works nicely for this, too) (and ketchup... don't let me get started), pour into freezer boxes, close lid, let cool, label, put into freezer.

Note. If you pour too much into one box this one -will- outgrow the box on freezing. You'll have stains all over your freezer (and with defrosting that thing only once a year you'll have pretty hard-to-remove-stains, too). Better give it 1/10 or more air to grow in. (Same goes for ketchup).

Note 2. This has -very- strong taste; I use some 5 tablespoons to 2 dl of a local sourcream (kermaviiliä) ;) or 2 tablespoons to go with meat, or 1 tablespoon in a glass of hot water once I've ran out of juice (see above), or 10 tablespoons in a liter of apple jam (add some sourcream) ;) or as much as I want on vanilla icecream.

Juice from the leaves (yum!)
grated peel of two lemons
1 kg sugar
juice of two lemons
80 gram dried black currant leaves
10 l boiling water Pour into one big bucket, leave to cool. Add 1 tablespoon yeast (normal breadmaking yeast). Let be overnight, pour thru a sieve into bottles, store cold for a week or two. Enjoy ;)

Other uses of leaves:
------- Make a tea, or put onto a cheese sandwich, or add to cucumber pickles, or add to your soup, or eat fresh, or ... once you've tasted it you'll know what to do with it.

Having fun Henriette

-- Henriette Kress HeK@hetta.pp.fi Helsinki, Finland http://sunsite.unc.edu/herbmed FTP: sunsite.unc.edu or sunsite.sut.ac.jp
/pub/academic/medicine/alternative-healthcare/herbal-medicine/ Medicinal and Culinary herbFAQs, plant pictures, neat stuff, archives...

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