FAQ #1: Organic Practices on Currants
“Are your currents are raised using organic methods. Any information you could provide would be helpful. Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you.” Karen V.B
“We are not certified organic. It’s actually quite difficult to get certification for small family type farms. The good news is that Currants are pretty disease and insect resistant. We do have issues annually with weeds and to combat the unwanted growth we deploy our mechanical weeder. This giant arm attaches to the side of our tractor and it’s fingers spin continuously ripping out any unwanted growth. There is a fungus that’s been showing up in the spring on the plants and as of this writing, I’ve been successful in controlling it by pruning out the affected branches. Interestingly enough, this disease is not only not harmful to people, it actually stimulates the development of more antioxidants in the plant to help fight off the disease. These are the same antioxidants that we use to fight off diseases in our bodies so ironically, plants that have this disease have healthier berries!”
FAQ #2: Concentrate vs. Nectar
“What is the difference between the concentrate and the nectar?” Rhonda B.
“CurrantC™ All Natural Black Currant Nectar is a ready to drink nectar with the highest black currant content of any ready to drink beverage in the world. Because it is so rich, some people like to add sparkling water for a refreshing drink but most people drink it as is for the full health benefits. Black Currants are very tart so the nectar is sweetened with sugar. It contains black currant juice, water, sugar and vitamin C. The concentrate is simply the juice that’s been squeezed from the berries and has had the water removed at a rate of 5/1. There are no preservatives, additives or sweeteners. To reconstitute it to a ready to drink beverage you would replace the water and sweeten it with the sweetener of your choice. Both can be used in many other recipes such as syrups for ice cream, desserts and pancakes, sauces and fillings.”
FAQ #3: CurrantC in Grocery Stores
“Are there any grocery stores in Southern New Jersey that carry your product?” Joseph C.
“You could purchase CurrantC All Natural Black Currant Nectar in grocery stores but like many small companies we took quite a beating during the economic downturn and was forced to scale back and we’re now available through our website. The good news is that we’ve cut the price you used to pay down so that it’s about the same price as before with delivery right to your door.”
FAQ #4: Dried Currants vs Nectar
“Would the dried currants be as beneficial as the juice?” Margaret.
“As with any fruit or vegetable, the more that happens to it after it leaves the bush the more goodies it looses. The good news with Black Currants is that they are so high in so many nutrients and nutraceuticals to begin with that even when you loose some you’re still ahead of the game. Although we’ve never had a face off between the juice and the dried currants, I suspect the juice is a little bit higher in some of the benefits since the juice is retained. Having said that they’re both very healthy and delicious!”
FAQ #5: Shipping the Concentrate
“How do you ship the 32 oz concentrate without it thawing?” Elaine.
“The 32 oz concentrate sometimes gets soft in shipment but it’s never a problem. The pH of black currants prohibits any bacterial formation. Just keep it in the freezer when received. Even when frozen it is easily spoonable.”
FAQ #6: Frozen Berries
“Are the frozen berries easy to chew and pleasant to swallow (not an overabundance of fiber and not bitter)?” Elaine.
“Fresh and frozen Black Currants are quite tart (not bitter). I love eating them right off the bush and fresh or thawed on my oatmeal and yogurt. Many folks, however, find them too tart (think raw cranberries) and prefer to sweeten them up a bit. It’s a personal preference.”
FAQ #7: Preparation of the Frozen Berries
“Are the frozen berries already washed, stemmed, and ready to eat?” Elaine.
“The frozen berries are not washed or processed in any way. This is the best way to freeze them. It’s just as if you picked them yourself. They do run through a vacuum on the harvesting machine which removes most of the leaves and such but you will find stems and some strigs as well as the odd leaf bit which is easily removed. We don’t spray so everything is edible and many Eastern Europeans seek out the stems, strigs, branches and leaves to be made into teas for healthy skin.”
FAQ #8: Amount of Concentrate
“How much Black Currant Concentrate should be used each day? Do you mix it 5/1? ” John M.
“A couple of tablespoons a day is great. You can mix it 5/1 with water, seltzer, hot water for a tea or in yogurts and smoothies.”
FAQ #9: Deer and Black Currants
“Do deer Like Black/Red currants and do they eat the leaves?” Meredith C.
“Deer have been known to nibble the buds and leaves a little but it’s usually not a big problem.”
FAQ #10: Re-freezing of Concentrate
“I just received the CurrantC Concentrate. It was totally thawed out so I hesitate to re-freeze it. How long will it last in the fridge?.” Roger P.
“It’s not uncommon for the concentrate to thaw during shipping. Just stick in the freezer and it will be totally fine. You can still spoon it out when frozen. In the freezer, the shelf life is comfortably 6 months, in the fridge about half that time.”
FAQ #11: Taste of Black Currant Concentrate
“What is the taste, sour or astringent or both?” Roger P.
“The flavor is quite tart as is the berry.”
FAQ #12: Ingredients of Concentrate
“Is the concentrate made of both red and black currants?” Roger P.
“Our CurrantC Grade A Black Currant Concentrate is 100% Black Currants with no preservatives.”
FAQ #13: Currant Plant Pests
“I have a question regarding currant plant pests. Last September I purchased 50 lbs. of your frozen currants, and there were some box-elder type bugs and larvae that I picked out of the berries. Do you know what type of bug that was and is it toxic in any way?” Nancy F.
“Thanks for your question. I know this is unpleasant but they’re not toxic. No worries on that point. I wish it didn’t happen but sometimes an insect slips through our inspection. There are always insects on our thousands of bushes all the time because we don’t spray insecticides. They’re part of a healthy eco-system. This is true with all produce that is produced on Organic farms or those that don’t use pesticides. The large population and variety of healthy birds (also a sign of a healthy eco-system) here on the currant farm do a really good job of dining on most of the bugs but they don’t get everyone. I’m sorry you found one of them. If you put the frozen currants in cold water for a bit, the occasional insect usually floats to the top.”
FAQ #14: Certified Organic?
“I am excited to taste your currants I just ordered. Are your products certified organic please?” Judith S.
“Our currants are not “certified” organic although the only chemical compound we use on them is H2O. Ironically, organic certification is easier for large corporate farms and less so for small farms like ours.”
FAQ #15: Genus of Black Currants
“What is the genus of your black currant products?” David G.
“There are several different cultivars grown and added to the mix including Titania, Ben Surek and Tihope.”
FAQ #16: Benefits from Black Currants
“My eyes were damaged from Stevens Johnson Syndrome or SJS TEN. I want authentic Black currants to see if my eyes will benefit from the currants. I researched and found that Your company is the premiere company for black currants. Does your farm sell to anyone in the Indianapolis, Indiana area? Also, what would be the best product to get the most benefit for my eye health?” Steven G.
“I’m glad you found us. Yes, we ship to all 50 states. Of course, as I’m sure you can understand, we cannot give medical advice or recommendations. I can, however, tell you about our products. Our CurrantC™ frozen black currants are as close to the berries off the bush as one can get since the only processing is a bit of tumbling to remove the stems and freezing. Our CurrantC™ Black Currant Concentrate is the pure juice which has had the water removed at a rate of 5/1. It contains no additives, preservatives nor preservatives. One can add back the water to make beverages and many of our customers simply consume a tablespoon of it as is. It’s quite tart. We also feature a product called CurranTech™ which is pure Black Currant Anthocyanin extract combined with the immune enhancing extract of Echinacea in an effervescent tablet.”
FAQ #17: Freshness of Black Currants
“Hello, I’m curious as to the age of the dried black currants that are ordered. Were these frozen for months or years or are they fairly fresh. I’ve placed one order of the dried black currants and they were delicious!! I was just curious if they’re older or a recent crop?” Chuck C.
“The currants are frozen immediately after harvest in July so they’re not fresh. They’re from the recent crop.”
FAQ #18: Storing Dried Currants
“I ordered dried black currants. Does this need to be refrigerated after opening. I consume it daily. Will these stay good if kept out of the fridge? Or do you recommend refrigerating (not freezing) after opening. Keeping them in the fridge makes them a bit harder and changes the texture a bit.” Vijay R.
“They don’t need refrigeration. The best way to get the maximum life is to keep them as airtight as possible. One method is to put them into a zip lock bag, insert a straw in the bag, zip it up all the way to the straw, suck all the air out and quickly zip the bag all the way as you withdraw the straw.”
FAQ #19: Black Currants’ Harvest Window
How long do you keep your frozen vacuum packed blackcurrants? I would like to order some, but would prefer them from this years crop- which will presumably be available shortly. If I wait until you are harvesting them, will I get currants from this year?
As with many berries there is a very short harvest window. In the case of currants, it’s among the shortest, less than a week a year. Other berries are grown in many parts of the country and in other countries so you can get “fresh” berries all year round. We have one of the few currant farms in the U.S. so the supply of currants are always from the previous harvest. The good news is currants have a formidable skin. And not only freeze well but hold up well past a year frozen. We freeze our currants immediately upon harvesting for maximum quality.
FAQ #20: Why add sugar to dried currants?
Unfortunately, as much as we, at CurrantC™ would like to offer an all-natural dried currant with a great chewy texture and no sweetener, it’s not technologically possible. You see, while sugar of any kind is used to make things sweet, it also acts as a preservative. Dried Black Currants have no problems with bacteria because of their natural low pH but as with all fruits and berries, they are susceptible to mold so they need a preservative when dried to a chewy texture.
The four main choices of preservatives are salt, which doesn’t work flavor wise, smoke, same answer, artificial preservative, which we would never use or some type of sugar. Most fruits are naturally sweet and high enough in fructose to do the job which is why you can have raisins (dried grapes), dried figs, dried apricots, dried mangos, etc. without any “added” sugar. Currants on the other hand are very tart because they are extremely low in fructose and in the absence of one of the “added” sugars, one would have to dry all the moisture out of them to the consistency of a hard, un-chewable peppercorn to prevent mold. Cranberries, which are also very tart and low in fructose, have the same issue hence, you never see dried cranberries (Craisins) without added sweeteners.
So you see, “dried, as-harvested, currants” in the delicious chewy form that everyone loves, is just not possible. We have chosen to use grape juice to keep the product 100% fruit and it’s less objectionable than processed white sugar.
Be aware of “real dried currants” without added sweetener. For the reasons explained above, if the product is called “currant” or “Zante currant” or “Real currant”, Zante black currant or some variation thereof, and states no added sugar or no added sweetener, it has to be using it’s own natural fructose which means it’s not a currant but most likely a dried grape (raisin). Since CurrantC™ introduced genuine currants to the U.S. with all their health benefits, many companies have begun to ride the wave and are intentionally mislabeling their small raisins as currants.