Thursday, January 01, 2015

Picking blackcurrants

Just spent nearly an hour out in the sun with my wife and grandson picking blackcurrants. We have two bushes: one was chock full of fruit, the other was obviously having a sabbatical. Almost nothing on it, and the bush itself was looking a bit peaky.

One year both bushes went on strike, and there wasn't even a sign of fruit. That was definitely an anomaly, and the only time it had happened in the thirty-five plus years we've been in the house.

We used to make blackcurrant jam, but often it would get wasted, as jam isn't so popular as it used to be. The last few years we've made blackcurrant juice. It comes as a not too thick syrup which needs watering down to make it into a drink. This is very popular.

We've had various fruit trees around the house over the years, one or two self-sown - in the wrong places, of course. The fruit has varied on these, sometimes edible, sometimes not, and sometimes the birds have got in first.

When I was a child we had a great big gooseberry bush in one back corner of the section. I would gorge myself on it, year after year. The gooseberries were always sweet and enticing. I've tried to grow gooseberries here too, but the bushes we've had have always done very little in the way of fruit, and usually have died off long before they've reached anything like their prime. However, at the moment we have two relatively new bushes flourishing in a different part of the garden. They obviously need more sun than the old ones were getting. I'm expecting to be able to go out and pick gooseberries some time soon. I've had one, and I'm hoping that's the 'first fruit(s)' of a bumper crop. The weather has certainly been hot enough, and there's been plenty of rain.

Meanwhile, my wife's making tomato chutney....so we smell of a combination of chutney and blackcurrant bush: one of the nicest smells around, I think.

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