How much do you know about currants?

Isabel Gonzalez Casares

Friday, November 3, 2023, 3:10 p.m.

With the arrival of autumn, the best season to enjoy them, they knock on the door. However, currants are present practically twelve months of the year, being one of the most appetizing red fruits, a practically essential resource in desserts, jams and syrups. Their intense color, at least in two of their varieties, is the most attractive thing about them. Presented in small bunches, they can be red – acidic or sour, they can be tasteless –, black – bitter and very acidic and not usually eaten raw – and white. It is a low-calorie fruit, rich in vitamin C, with antioxidant, diuretic and cleansing properties. In juice, it is better if you take the darker variety, they have an astringent effect and their intake reduces inflammation of the intestine. The fresh ones can only be found in summer and are short-season. They can be bought frozen or canned all year round.

They have many uses in the kitchen. They can be incorporated into very fresh salads for the summer (as well as with green leaves, croutons, fennel and pine nuts, for example). But where currants succeed most is in desserts. There they are the perfect ingredient. They can complete a fruit salad, decorate pancakes or waffles. And the most tempting cookies are those that combine flora paste with white chocolate and currants, with which you can also make exquisite muffins.

Features and curiosities

  • What is it. The fruit that comes from the currant tree. It is a berry with translucent skin and red color, globose and with a bittersweet flavor with three species: red, black and white.

  • Russia and Poland. The world market leader in the cultivation of this berry belongs to Russia. Poland and Germany follow.

  • Like a spice. Currant leaves are added to jars when pickling vegetables and mushrooms, performing the function of a spice.

  • Improves health. It helps intestinal transit due to its high fiber content, fights anemia and is an excellent antioxidant. It also strengthens the immune system, improves circulation and helps the nervous and muscular systems.

  • Since prehistory. There is evidence that wild currants, native to different areas of Europe and Asia, were consumed even then and were part of the diet of hunter-gatherers.

  • Highly appreciated by doctors. In the Middle Ages, doctors took them into account for different treatments.

They are also used as an acid sauce in strong red meat dishes and combine perfectly as a garnish for a dish of roast beef, lamb or some game meats.

Not to mention the drinks that can be made, fresh and colorful, perfect for the summer months. In combination they are a wonderful ally.

The black currant is much more aromatic than the red one due to the abundance of its essential oils. Its juice is used to prepare natural food coloring.

They are especially suitable for protecting eyesight, especially due to their protective action on the smallest blood vessels.

According to certain authors, it is one of the foods collected by Paleolithic hunting societies, because it was found in humid, cold mountain areas that were also ideal for hunting. And in classical Greece these fruits were known as ‘blood of titans’, in reference to their intense red, purple, violet and black colors. Its first crops date back to the 17th century, specifically in Belgium and northern France.

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