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Black Currants



The Black Currant is a woody bush or shrub, from 1 to 1.5 metres (3 to 5 feet) high, that thrives in damp woods.

The berries are up to 1 cm (1/2 inch) wide, with a tough skin. They grow on new wood on the bush.

The leaves have the same scent as the berries. Goats like eating the leaves, and bears like eating the berries

Black currants are very tart when unsweetened, so sweetener is usually added to them. The berries are high in pectin, making them good for preserves.

Some black currant fans have complained that some of the newer cultivars, such as Canadian-developed Consort, Coronet and Crusader, don't have much flavour (they were bred more with an eye to disease resistance.)

The French liqueur, "Cassis", is made from black currants.

Black currants have an average pH of 2.9 (range 2.6 to 3.1). [1]

Cooking Tips

Wash by swishing in a bowl of water. Drain in a colander, remove stems. If making jelly, wash, leave stems on to provide added pectin, then strain out when straining the juice for jelly.

Nutrition

Black currants contain three times as much vitamin C as oranges, and good amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, copper and soluble fibre.

Nutrition Facts
Per 100 g (3 1/2 oz)
Amount
Calories
28
Vitamin C
200 mg


Equivalents

1 pound = 450 g = 2 to 2 1/2 cups

4 oz = 115 g = 3/4 cup

Storage Hints

Store unwashed in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 4 days. Freeze for up to 1 year.


History Notes

Native to Europe.


Black currant bushes can act as a host for a blister rust that affects white pine trees. Their cultivation was consequently banned federally in the United States in 1906. Though the federal ban was withdrawn in 1966, many American states still ban it where white pine timber is still important economically. Connecticut withdrew its ban in 1983; New York State in 2003 (before the banning started in 1906, New York State had been the top black currant producer in America.)

As of 2005, black currant bushes are still banned in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

No ban was ever placed on cultivating black currant bushes north of the border in Canada.

Sources

[1] IQF Black Currants. The PROgram Company. Accessed July 2015 at http://www.profruit.com/currants.html#bcur.

See also:

Berries

Açaí Berries; Akala Berries; Aronia Berries; Baba Berries; Barberries; Berries; Bilberries; Black Currants; Black Gooseberries; Blueberries; Buffalo Currants; Bumbleberries; Cape Gooseberries; Cloudberries; Cranberries; Devil Spits Day; Egton Bridge Gooseberry Show; Elderberries; Garden Huckleberries; Gooseberries; Haw Flakes; Hawthorne Berries; Huckleberry; Hudson Bay Currants; Jostaberries; Lingonberries; Mulberries; Otaheite Gooseberry; Raspberries; Red Currants; Saskatoon Berries; Sea Buckthorn; Serendipity Berries; Strawberries; Sunberries; Tayberries; Thimbleberries; Ugni; Waimate Berries; White Currants; Wineberries; Wonderberries; Worcesterberries

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Also called:

Quinsy Berries; Ribes nigrum (Scientific Name); Cassis (French); Schwarze Johannisbeeren (German); Ribes neri (Italian); Grosellas negras (Spanish)

Citation

Oulton, Randal. "Black Currants." CooksInfo.com. Published 01 September 2002; revised 18 July 2015. Web. Accessed 12/14/2017. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/black-currants>.

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