Blackcurrant has a strong taste that's quite special and without sugar there are those who think it tastes more like medicine. Blackcurrant is among the berries that contain most vitamin C. The berries are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. All of which are of great importance to your health.
When I was little we had currant bushes in our garden. We always chose to eat the red or white currants. While our mother wished we ate a little more of the black ones.
It wasn't until I became older that I started to appreciate them.
Now I love them! Blackcurrant has a distinct taste that for many has to be acquired.
I have often wondered what it is that's so special about this little berry. I find it peculiar that it's a common berry in Scandinavia while it's forbidden in several states in the US.
What does the blackcurrant taste like and does it have any nutritional value and is it good for you?
Yes! Blackcurrants are special in many ways; Taste, history, nutritional value and it's beauty.
Table of Contents
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What Is Black Currant Fruit?
Black currants are small berries that grow on shrubs and has a color that runs between deep dark red, dark purple to pitch black.
Black, red and white currants are commonly called "Northern Grapes".
Most currants grow in cold and temperate areas of the northern hemisphere and are very common in the Nordic countries.
Banned in the US
In the US, black currants were popular until the late 19th century.
They suspected that the black currants spread a disease to the trees, which threatened the wood industry. The wood industry was very important, so they banned the cultivation of black currants.
Even today, the ban remain in some states. This history has made it diffucult for the black currants to recover their popularity.
However, the interest in black currants is starting to rise again because of its unique flavor and its healthy nutrients.
What Does Blackcurrant Taste Like?
The taste of blackcurrant is often described as tart - sweet and intense.
The Blackcurrant tastes quite different depending on the variety, where they grow and when they are picked.
The berries that grow high on the bush and get more sun have a sweeter taste while the berries on the low-hanging branches have a more musty and tart taste.
More than 50 different aroma substances have been found in black currants.
The berry works perfectly for making jam, juice and jelly. The leaves can be used for tea. You can find a delicious recipe for a currant jam in our article where we go over some alternatives for lingonberry jam.
Before choosing black currants, it's important to think about what you are going to do with them. I recommend you try different varieties. The different varieties tastes quite different so it's easy to find one you like.
For example, if you want to cook juice, it's good to choose a variety with a strong blackcurrant-taste so that you can balance its tartness with water and sugar. If you want to eat the berries fresh, you need to choose among the varieties that are a bit more sweet.
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Are Black Currants Good For You? Extremely!
Black Currants are healthy. Black currants are an unbeatable vitamin C source. 3.6 oz / 100 grams of black currant yields three times as much vitamin C as the recommended daily intake.
If you're choosing between different varieties of currants and if you want a hearty dose of vitamin C, choose the black ones as they contain three times as much of that goodness than white currants.
Vitamin C is good for the immune system, counteracts colds and infections and works anti-inflammatory.
It also improves fat burning and is needed for our liver and kidneys to be able to produce a sufficient amount of the carnitine amino acid needed to transform body fat into energy.
Vitamin C is heat sensitive though! In food that is kept warm for a long time or heated repeatedly, the amount of vitamin C decreases.
Blackcurrant Is Packed With The Antioxidant Anthocyanin
Blackcurrants are rich in other vitamins and antioxidants. Researchers have found 10 different types of antioxidants in black currants. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant because the vitamin neutralizes free radicals.
Blackcurrants also have high levels of the same antioxidant found in blueberry, namely anthocyanin. Anthocyanins reveal themselves to us as a plant color pigment that reflects blue light, so you can find anthocyanins in other blue colored berries.
Anthocyanins are among the antioxidants believed to be able to prevent many diseases. Researchers have found that they are able to protect our eyes, our brain (believe it!), and prevent cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
You Also Find The Antioxidant Polyphenol In The Blackcurrant
Blackcurrants contain high levels of polyphenols. Polyphenols are another antioxidant that has been shown to counteract stress and act anti-inflammatory.
Polyphenols have long been known for their health-promoting effects, studies have shown that the risk of dying prematurely is reduced sharply if you get polyphenols through your diet.
The polyphenols are also believed to prevent certain types of cancerous cells and inhibit certain eye diseases.
Polyphenols may also act as probiotics, which increase the level of important bacteria in the intestine, which is extremely important for the immune system and your bodyweight. In summary; Polyphenols seem to be extremely important for a healthy living.
Blackcurrant Seed Oil Contain A Lot Of Fatty Acids
The small seeds in the blackcurrant contain the healthy omega 6 fatty acid GLA (Gamma Linoleic Acid). Among other things, GLA can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by lowering both your blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
GLA might also increase your body metabolism and thereby should be able to have an effect on your weight. GLA can reduce PMS and menopause disorders.
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The Iron Content Of The Blackcurrant Is Very High
Black currants are one of the most iron-rich berries available. Iron is found in the hemoglobin of your blood. Iron is needed for oxygen transport in the body from the lungs to the tissues.
Iron is also believed to help concentration, hair, the pH of the blood, the detoxification of the cells and the production of DNA. Iron is also believed to help in counteracting stress.
Blackcurrants Are Full Of Potassium, Vitamin K, Fiber And The Vital Folic Acid
Blackcurrants contain a lot of Potassium, Vitamin K and Folic Acid.
Potassium is a mineral that is of major importance to all the cells of the body, especially for the muscle cells. Potassium is also believed to be good for lowering high blood pressure.
Folic acid is important for the body. Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in various forms, so-called folates. Folic acid is an important nutrient, especially for women of childbearing age, who are planning or already are pregnant. Swedish authorities recommend all women who are planning on becoming pregnant to eat folic acid supplements.
Black currants also contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, E, K, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium and plenty of flavonoids.
If you would like to read more about the different vitamins and minerals, I recommend the US Department of Health and Human Services - National Institute of Health, they have a list in alphabetical order.
Blackcurrants are amazing!
Healthiest Benefits Found In The New Zealand Blackcurrant Variety
Scientists in New Zealand have been able to prove that black currants are good for the brain! The best variety tested was a New Zealand-type blackcurrant called "Blackadder".
In a study conducted at the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research in 2015, they managed to show that the black currant sharpens your ability to concentrate, reduces mental stress and improves your mood. The study was published in the Journal of Functional Foods 17.
The participants in the study were 36 healthy adults, between 18 and 35 years of age.
They drank a cup (250 ml) blackberry juice every day and the effects were immediate: when the test subjects had to perform difficult mental tests, they performed far better than the control group; who was served a drink without blackcurrants.
The scientists even believe that regular consumption of black currants can help prevent Parkinson's and other neurological diseases.
The New Zealand-type blackcurrant "Blackadder" was found to be able to reduce the activity of the monoamino oxidase enzymes in the brain.
These break down the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine - two "happiness hormones" which controls our mood.
Therefore, the black berries can provide a mood enhancing effect and counteract stress, anxiety and depression, according to the results of the study.
Conclusion: How We Use Blackcurrants To Maintain Our Healthy Living
I think that black currants are one of those real super berries. All the benefits that this little berry has sounds too good to be true. But the research I've done has made me a believer. It's a Healthy Berry!
There is a lot you can do with black currants.
Eating them fresh or frozen is a very good way to get all the benefits. You can also make jam, juice, jelly or marmalade.
You can also drink blackberry tea, which can either be made on the berries itself, but the most common tea is made from dried blackcurrant leaves.
If you're having trouble finding fresh black currants, there are several good options. You can buy blackberry oil or blackberry powder. Both taste good and have a very high nutritional value.
You can also plant your own blackcurrant bushes. Just be careful when choosing the variety of the blackcurrant. you'll have the bush for a long time and it spreads fast.
But then you can pick fresh blackcurrants in the summer and freeze them. Being able to take out some berries from your freezer whenever you feel like it and bake a pie or make a smoothie, is an absolute privilege!
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Frequently asked questions about Black Currants
What are black currants?
Black currants are small berries that grow on shrubs and have a color that runs between deep dark red, dark purple to pitch black. Black currants are an unbeatable vitamin C source. Black currants are rich in other vitamins and antioxidants. Researchers have found 10 different types of antioxidants in black currants.
What does black currant taste like?
The taste of blackcurrant is often described as tart - sweet and intense. The Blackcurrant tastes quite different depending on the variety, where they grow and when they are picked. Those growing high on the bush which get a lot of sun have a sweeter taste, and the berries on the low-hanging branches have a more musty and tart taste.
What are blackadder black currants?
Blackadder is a variety of black currant that's found in New Zealand. Scientists in New Zealand have been able to prove that black currants are good for the brain and the best variety for this is the blackadder.
Why is black currant illegal in the US?
Black currants was banned in the US in the late 19th century. The black currants spread a disease to the trees, which threatened the wood industry. Most states have lifted the ban today but there are a few states where it’s still illegal to grow black currants.