Blackcurrants ripen in July and are very good at "hanging" on the bush until we have time to pick them. The best flavour is realised if they are not picked too soon.
Redcurrants ripen earlier, according to variety, but can be picked as soon as a complete colour change has occurred.
Whitecurrants are really a close relative of redcurrants, but are even sweeter.
Currants are more tedious to harvest than other soft fruits on account of their small size and tendency to squash, making the pickers' fingers sticky. This problem can be overcome by picking the whole striggs, making little effort to separate the individual currants. When the fruit is taken home, give a gentle washing (striggs and all), dry lightly on a clean cloth, or paper kitchen towel, and freeze on a flat tray. Once frozen, the currants and striggs are then broken up and can be easily separated. The currants can then be transferred to the permanent storage receptacle.
This procedure is particularly useful for Red and White currants on account of their thin skins.
For the user, the differences between varieties of Blackcurrants are of lesser importance than with other soft fruit, since all modern varieties are of good quality and flavour.
Ben Connan and its smaller cousin Ben Sarek are the most popular varieties grown, but Ben Lomond is still about.
A less common variety you might see is Ben Tirran which is 2 weeks later than the others.
Redcurrants tend to be very long lived, so you may see several names, some quite old. Look for Laxton and Red Lake, or perhaps Redstart. Newer varieties include the late variety Rovada.
Whitecurrants are usually represented by the variety White Versailles which, if allowed to get fully ripe gives delicious sweet fruit for Summer desserts.