It wasn't until recently that I discovered the reason for blackcurrants' rarity in the US is that many states banned blackcurrant growing in the early 1900's in order to prevent the spread of white pine blister rust, Cronartium ribicola, a disease affecting white pine trees, a mainstay back then of the timber industry. Today the use of white pine as lumber is rare and disease-resistant plants are available, but the antiquated ban on producing blackcurrants remained in effect pretty much nationwide until recently. Some states are now allowing blackcurrant plants to be reintroduced. In New York State it was primarily the result of the efforts of one 'gentleman farmer' who now runs a company that sells blackcurrant 'nectar', blackcurrants. I can now buy blackcurrant 'nectar' at our local supermarket! (I can buy Ribena too - but it is insanely expensive as it is imported. Blackcurrant jam too, imported from Poland, and worth the price even though DS has decided it makes very good PB&J sandwiches now that he's finally understood that the lumps in the jam are the fruit!) I could order frozen blackcurrants online at $5/lb, for a minimum of 3 lbs (plus shipping & handling of course!)
They even sell currant bushes via mailorder. The law in my state still says however:
"No person shall deliver within the Commonwealth from outside the Commonwealth any blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) plant, root, scion, seed or cutting."So no blackcurrant bushes in our backyard for the foreseeable future! Still, over the years I have gotten to like blueberries for what they are and appreciate that, unlike blackcurrants, you can eat them raw. In fact, I've decided that's mostly my favorite way of eating them, though I don't object if they're cooked into pancakes or muffins. Tonight's dessert was definitely one for blueberries though, not blackcurrants, as it did need raw fruit. However, I modified the original 'Real Simple' recipe slightly and the 0% fat Greek yogurt (instead of cream cheese and cream - thanks for the inspiration Mum!) along with the lemon zest (called for in the original) gave it some of the tartness I miss from blackcurrants.