Growing Red Currants in Colorado

Have you ever heard of the word Foodscaping? Another term for Edible Landscaping, this is the practice of planting beautiful trees, bushes, and ornamental looking plants into your landscape that will provide food for you and yours. When I took this photo, I zoomed into my blue mug to try and capture the beauty of these Red Lake, Red Currants. They are so gorgeous, especially when they are hanging in delicate clusters from a 3-5 foot bush in one’s front yard. High in potassium, manganese, vitamin A, B, and C, flavonoids, their high antioxidant levels may help fight against various forms of cancer, too! Currants can be grown as hedges, or as part of a flower garden and are even lovely planted on their own. Small space gardeners can enjoy them because they will grow well in a pot. They are part of the gooseberry family but don’t have thorny canes. I had never tried them until we lived in the UK and always wondered why they weren’t commonly grown in the US. It turns out that they were banned in the early 1900’s due to White Pine Blister Rust, which was then lifted, but they never caught on here like they did in Europe. They prefer morning light and their leaves can burn in afternoon sun so bear that in mind when planting them. If they are grown in our clay soil here in Colorado, add organic matter or even put them in raised beds. (They are heavy Nitrogen feeders.)My favorite way to eat them is in Red Currant Fools. If they are ripening at different times I pick and freeze them until we have enough for the recipe below.

Our Red Currant Fools
2 cups of Red Currants 
2 cups of sliced kiwi
1 pint of whipping cream
1.5 cups of plain Greek yoghurt
3/4 cup of sugar
1. Cook the Red Currants and sugar until combined on low heat. Set aside to cool before all of the berries breakdown, you want most of them to still their shape. 
2. Whisk the whip cream and fold in the yoghurt and berries. Top with the Kiwi slices.
3. Divide into 4 short glasses and refrigerate for 2 hrs before serving.

Christina Manning Lebek