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are red currants supposed to be horribly bitter??

15 years ago

hi all, i'm new to the garden web so please forgive me if i leave out a bit of importent info. we've just moved to a new house in montana from virginia and there are several red currant bushes in the yard. i don't have any experience with currants at all and i was very excited when i saw the bushes. but when i tried one it was so bitter i had to spit it out. i've heard about people eating these things with sugar, but i can't imagine any amount of suger would make them palatable. there was no sweetness at all, maybe a little tart, but mostly BITTER!! and it stays with you, i had that bitter taste in my mouth for an hour. best i can tell they're ripe, sort of translucent and look pretty much like pictures i've seen of red currants. what i want to know is if this is typical of currants, or just mine? we're in zone 4, can't remember if it's 4a or 4b. the bushes are established, the largest probably about 7-8feet tall. that one is watered daily, the smaller bushes are not. all the berries are bitter. no idea how the bushes were treated prior to us moving here, but the previous owners said they never did anything with them. there are even a few bushes with orange berries that look just like the red ones, only the different color. maybe slightly less bitter, but they're still pretty bad. if there's something i can do to sweeten them up, some sort of fertilizer or something i'll definitely give it a shot. but these things are so bitter i can't imagine ever eating one voluntarily. any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. thanks!

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