Currants are a small round fruit that have a translucent color, either red, white or black and a rich, tart flavor. I wasn’t as familiar with currants as some of the other berries we’ve looked at, and I’m not sure that I’ve actually eaten them before. Black currants are primarily used for preserves, syrups and liqueurs; red and white currants are more for eating out of your hand. Some folks prefer the red currant for use in jellies and purees as well as juices. The white currant is actually an albino form of the red currant, and has less acidity, and is good for all culinary uses.
You may even find a pink currant which is an intermediate between the red and white types with less overall pigmentation; however, the skin is considered colorless but the flesh is pink.
Black currants are very rich in many antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, essential fatty acids as well as minerals. In addition, they are renowned for their high content of Vitamin C, GLA (a rate Omega 6 essential fatty acid), and potassium; in fact, they are shown to have twice the potassium of bananas and four times the Vitamin C of orange, and even twice the antioxidants of blueberries.
Black currants have a distinct or characteristic aroma described as a sweet earthy taste unlike other berries; a combination of passion-fruit aromas, hints of raspberry and floral aromatic notes of carnations and roses. It’s aftertaste is fresh and yet sharply cleansing without residual sweetness. Black currants aren’t just for eating because you can also find them combined with others scents in various aroma therapy oils.
Another relative of the black currant is the Jostaberry, it is actually a hybrid of a black currant and a gooseberry (we’ll look at that in another article). It’s interesting that propagation is usually by cuttings, rather than by seeds.
The Jostaberry may be pronounced “yostaberry” in English, and the first cultivar wasn’t available to the public until 1977. You might not necessarily see this particular berry at your regular grocery store but you could find them at other specialty grocery stores.
Keep your mind open to new adventures in eating berries because currants may just be something you will want to incorporate into your meals.