4 Red Currant Varieties (The Most Common Varieties)

A shot of ripening red currants.

Currants, divided into several species in the genus Ribes, grow quickly and are valuable shrubs prized for their colored fruit strigs. For moderately sweet or tasty fruit, multiple kinds of each hue are developed. To acquire the greatest fruit flavor and maximum sweetness, give the plants proper care to grow one or more plants of the ideal color for sweetness. Consequently, the fruits will ripen on the plant.

Red Currant

With a few exceptions, red currants are primarily utilized in jellies, juices, purees, and other food-related applications. “Cascade” has huge fruits, good flavors, and extraordinary sugar content. “Red Lake” is another dynamic cultivar with long ripening periods and bloom. “Wilder,” on the other hand, is immensely product but has a habit of spreading. A red currant is also self-fertile. However, cross-pollinating it with another white or red type can help in rare cases.

White Currant

White currant, close up shot.

White currants (R. rubrum, Ribes petraeum, or R. vulgare) have decreased acidity levels compared to other currants, making them ideal for eating fresh. White currant varieties that are near-transparent are the best. The currant “White Imperial,” one of the most commercially accessible, produces many small berries with low acidity. Early-ripening, delicious and juicy berries, and strong, productive canes characterize “White Dutch,” yet berries can be small and irregularly proportioned. White currants, like red currants, are mostly self-fruitful; however, cross-pollination with another white or red type can help.

Pink Currant

A cluster of pink currant on a branch.

Pink currants (Ribes vulgare) have pink meat and a colorless skin, making them a cross between white and red currants. According to the California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc., “Gloire des Sablons” is the most prevalent kind of pink currant in the area. It is prized for its huge berries and high output. “Pink Wine” is one of the sweetest currants available. “Rosasport” also has clusters of tasty pink berries that can be eaten right away.

Black Currant

Black currants hanging on a branch.

Although there are exceptions, most black currants (Ribes ussuriense or Ribes nigrum) have a very strong taste that deems them better suited for syrups, desserts, jellies, and others foods than fresh consumption. According to California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc., “Noir de Bourgogne” produces the tastiest black currant berries, while “Boskoop Giant” has a nice flavor as well. If left to ripen on the vine, “Ben Sarek” and “Titania” produce enormous berries that are sweet enough for fresh consumption.

The cultivars “Willoughby” and “Wellington XXX” can stand more sun than other currants. Because a black currant is mostly self-sterile, consider growing two types close together for the best fruit set.

Currant Seeds and Stratification

Currant seeds must be stratified to germinate. Stratification is a seed-softening treatment that promotes germination by softening the seed coat. Seed-specific stratification methods exist.

Soaking, chilling, heating, or scarring the seed coat are all options for stratification, depending on the seed. Currant seeds must be chilled for a length of time before germinating. The chill phase simulates the period of cold weather that a currant seed would encounter in its natural environment before sprouting in the spring.

Method and Requirements for Stratification

Peat moss is an excellent medium for stratifying seeds. During the chilling period, the porous, soilless mix keeps the seeds from drying out. Place the seeds in a bucket or plastic bag sandwiched between two layers of somewhat damp peat moss.

To allow air to circulate during stratification, poke holes in the container. Store the currant seeds in a bucket or bag at 33 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit for three to four months, such as in a refrigerator. The seeds must be kept at a temperature just above freezing. Temperatures below freezing can harm seeds and prevent them from germinating.

Currant Seeds to Plant

Currant seedlings can be grown in sand, peat moss, or a soilless seed-starting mix. Unsterilized potting soil and garden soil should be avoided since they contain bacteria that can suffocate germination. Cover the currant seeds with a thin coating of soil and place them on top of the damp mix. Press the seeds gently into the mixture before brushing the soil on top. Currant seeds grow best in bright, indirect light at temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fruit Production and Planting

Transplant the seedlings from the seed flat into individual pots once they have germinated. You can either put the current bush seedlings in the garden the following fall or wait until spring. Currant shrubs can be planted in the winter in moderate areas. Currant bushes produced from seed will bear fruit in the second or third year after planting.

Blackcurrants’ Health Benefits

Ribes nigrum is the botanical name for blackcurrant. The bush produces clusters of small berries, measuring approximately 1cm in diameter, exceedingly dark purple, almost black, with silky skin and a prolonged calyx at the apex.

Within the fruit, there may be 3 to 10 edible seeds. Other currant kinds, such as red, white, and pink, are inferior to blackcurrants in antioxidant content. Jostaberry, a hybrid of R. nigrum and wild gooseberries, is another option. The health advantages of blackcurrants are listed below.

Anthocyanins: Anthocyanins are phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals found in abundance in blackcurrants. Studies have proven the consumption of blackcurrants to have possible health benefits against ageing, neurological illnesses, inflammation, and possibly cancer due to this phytochemical.

Blackcurrants have the fourth greatest antioxidant value (ORAC – Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) after chokeberries, elderberries, and cranberries, at 7950 Trolex Equivalents per 100gm.

Vitamin C-rich: Blackcurrants are high in vitamin C, which is also a powerful antioxidant. 100 grams of fresh blackcurrants provide more than 300 percent of the daily necessary vitamin C intake. According to studies, consuming fruits high in Vitamin C helps the body fight infectious diseases and remove free radicals from the body.

Blackcurrants also contain a modest but significant quantity of vitamin A and flavonoid antioxidants such as zea-xanthin, beta-carotene, and cryptoxanthin. All of these chemicals are antioxidants as well. Vitamin A is also necessary for maintaining the integrity of the skin and mucosa and eye health.

Eating natural fruits strong in flavonoid antioxidants can also protect you from malignancies of the lungs and mouth.

Fresh blackcurrants are high in vitamins such as vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), and vitamin B6 (pantothenic acid) (pyridoxine). These are necessary vitamins, which means our bodies require them from outside sources (our bodies do not produce them) to maintain a healthy metabolism.

Blackcurrants are high in iron and contain a large amount of it. 100g of blackcurrant provides about 20% of the daily required iron intake. Iron is required to develop RBCs (red blood cells) in the bone marrow, as you may already know. In cytochrome oxidase-guided cellular metabolism, it’s a crucial cofactor.

Blackcurrants also include vital minerals such as calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and potassium.

Redcurrants’ Health Benefits

Redcurrants are the next type of currant that has a lot of health benefits. Ribes rubrum is its botanical name. Redcurrants are slightly tarter than blackcurrants, although their sweetness is comparable. Redcurrants have many health benefits.

Redcurrants have a lower glycemic index than most other foods because the sugar in this fruit is absorbed slowly in the blood, preventing blood sugar crashes, spikes, sugar cravings, and mood swings.

Fights Infection: With 77 percent of the RDA of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, a cup of redcurrants strengthens the body’s immunity to combat infectious agents as well as cancer-causing free radicals.

Redcurrants are beneficial for skin and hair because they include a lot of vitamin C, which helps generate and retain collagen, an important protein for skin and hair.

Manganese is a key cofactor in several enzymes involved for energy synthesis and antioxidant protection, and a cup of redcurrants contains 10% manganese.

Redcurrants include iron and copper, both of which are necessary for the synthesis of blood cells.

Redcurrants also contain a significant quantity of vitamin K, which is essential for maintaining calcium levels in the bones. It also lowers calcium excretion in the urine. A cup of redcurrants provides 15% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K.

Improves Digestion and Fights Constipation: Redcurrants are high in fiber, which helps with digestion and bowel movement. Fiber also scrapes artery debris, which helps to prevent atherosclerosis.

Reduces Cancer and Heart Disease Risk: Redcurrants, like many red fruits and vegetables, contain lycopene, a carotenoid that lowers cancer and heart disease risk.

Mouth Protection: Redcurrants can help with a variety of oral ailments. It works to treat gum illnesses that cause gum reddening, loosening, and inflammation. It also works to prevent tooth decay and to treat oral infections and ulcers.

Redcurrants aid in the management of the menstrual cycle and the relief of pain and colic during menstruation.

Removes Toxins: Because redcurrants are diuretics and stimulate perspiration, they aid in the removal of toxins from the body.


Red currants can do wonders for your skin, fight potential viruses and ensure your immune system is performing at its optimal level. As a result, red currants should be a part of your diet, particularly when COVID is wreaking havoc and optimal healthcare has become essential.

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