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BEN TIRRAN BLACKCURRANT
The parents of Ben Tirran are a complicated mix, however Ben Lomond and Seabrooks Black are the primary parentage lines. This variety was first released in 1990.
APPEARANCE, TASTE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF BEN TIRRAN
Ben Tirran Blackcurrants
The berries are slightly smaller than average compared to other modern varieties however the yield is slightly above average. They ripen to a dark purple / black colour in early August. Taste is slightly tart and full-flavoured, not ideal for eating from the bush but excellent for all cooking uses.
Plants grow to a height and spread of 1.2m (4ft) with an upright growth form. The plants begin to crop quickly and reach their full cropping potential after only three years although year two will also produce a very decent-sized crop. Expect the plants to crop well for 10 to 12 years.
As with all blackcurrants, Ben Tirran is self-fertile and will produce a crop if grown alone.
BUYING BEN TIRRAN BLACKCURRANT BUSHES
This is a reasonably common variety and can often be found in UK garden centres and almost always in a good number of online fruit specialists. Prices appear to be significantly variable even among the more well known nurseries so take care to compare prices online before buying. Bare-rooted plants, available from November to early March, are the cheapest way to buy any blackcurrant bush. The cheapest supplier we could find was Sycamore Trading for a two year old bare rooted Ben Tirran plant. Expect to pay anywhere between £6.00 to £12.00 depending on the supplier.
Blackcurrant bushes are particularly prone to viral infections and for this reason we would avoid buying them from online general retailers such as as Amazon or E-bay unless you know exactly who is supplying them. Cuttings donated by friends are of course free but we always ask to see the parent plant to check that it is free from disease.
Buying blackcurrant bushes from the discount stores can be a good deal but it can also result in a sub-standard crop. The discount stores take the second quality plants whereas the more conventional suppliers take the best quality. Unfortunately you will only find this out after you have carefully tended your crop for two years when they fail to crop well.
We have four pages devoted entirely to planting, care, harvest, pest / disease and propagating blackcurrants which can be found here.
SUMMARY CHARACTERISTICS OF BEN TIRRAN
USE: Cooking use only
SKIN COLOUR / TEXTURE: Deep purple / black
TASTE AND TEXTURE: Rich blackcurrant flavour, berries cook down well
FRUIT SIZE: Average weight 1g, slightly below average
PLANT SIZE: Average for a blackcurrant bush
REGULARITY OF CROPPING: Very regular
SPECIAL FEATURES: Reliably crops about two weeks later than the average which increases the harvesting period.