Wednesday 31 July 2013

More on pruning and picking blackcurrants as a combined operation

UPDATE on picking blackcurrants

Last year I did a short post describing how I picked blackcurrants sitting down at our picnic table! This year my pruned-away fruiting branches were particularly prolific and comfortably seated I plucked and rolled with my fingers 6kg of large, round, fat, juicy blackcurrants into large plastic bowls. My domestic goddess regards the operation as a garden chore so the job falls to me. I am careful to remove most of the tiny sprigs attached to a few of the fruits, although this is not too critical because when they are frozen, any I have missed rub off very easily. My three blackcurrant bushes have done us proud this year and there will be plenty of pies. We actually ate our last 2012 blackcurrant and apple pie from the freezer a week ago! Brenda was so thrilled with this year’s yield that she came out and helped me finish picking, whipped the fruit into the freezer in plastic bags and holding back 1kg to make some jam, she dispatched me to the village shop to buy some sugar!

Half the crop, I will do the rest tomorrow

This year taking out the fruiting two year old branches did not complete the pruning, The prolific growth of one year old shoots with all that rain last year was too dense. I was not sure whether I wanted such large bushes and nor was a I confident that such shoot density would give me the quality I need next year. Worse. I might even get too heavy a crop and I am not that fond of picking… 
I returned to the bushes and took out half of the one year shoots to ground level. When I compare the photographs of this year’s and last year’s plants I wonder if I should have taken out more.

After taking away fruiting branches to pick. But I don’t want such large and crowded bushes

Two minutes later I have limited the plant to about thirty  one year old shoots.

Last year my pruned bushes were rather less dense. 

Making blackcurrant jam.

Blackcurrants, sugar and water. Ready to go

Steaming cauldron. Temperature must reach setting point of 104 C

Trouble with the bottle  tops. Spilt jam looks too good to waste

Twelve pots. We eat very little jam but it makes very nice presents!


  1. Picking blackcurrants isn't our favourite job either and I'm sure we do eat some of the sprigs. Don't you tail them as well :D

    I'll have to do some serious pruning this year - so do you take out all the branches that have fruited down to ground level?

    1. Not a tailer we go for simplicity!
      If blackcurrants have not been pruned properly in previous years ( I am sure yours have) then a lot of the new shoots come high on the old wood, so you have got to come to some compromise of how much to leave in.
      As you can see I don't have this problem and I take out the fruited wood as near to the ground as I can bend! Actually as I do yoga I can mend a long way!

    2. I'm ashamed to say my blackcurrants are not treated to a yearly prune but I will deal with them this year.

  2. This year I've made blackcurrant tea syrup for winter. My grandma used to make such syrup and we always drank it through winter and we didn't have a cold.

    Your jam looks very good, very appetizing. I'd definitely eat such a tasty jam! :)


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