Black currant is known for its use in ice creams and desserts and is not only loved for its taste but is also preferred as a nutrient-rich and versatile food jam-packed with health benefits. It is native to temperate parts of central and northern Europe and northern Asia where it prefers damp fertile soils.
Benefits of black currant
- Protects the immune system with its high level of vitamin C
- Lower cholesterol, which can lower the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases
- Improve joint health and reduce inflammation
- Boost skin appearance and prevent dry skin
- Improve vision and slow the development of macular degeneration
- Lower the risk of cancer and cellular mutation
- Optimize digestive system and eliminate symptoms of constipation
- Prevent circulatory problems, which can improve energy levels
- Slows down hair loss
- Speed healing process from the flu
- Relieve congestion and respiratory issues
- Aid sleep issues and increase energy levels
- Minimize the symptoms of herpes
- Protect against pathogens
- Antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antiviral
- Treats a sore throat
Adding black currants to your diet
Black currants can be consumed raw or used in cooking, such as the following:
- Desserts with the mashed or cooked berries
- Black currant wine
- Also, Black currant tea or tincture
- Black currant essential oil derived from the seeds
- Used in drinks such as cocktails
Despite of many health benefits from the berries, there are a number of side effects associated with consuming too much. Due to the presence of gamma-linolenic acid, some people report diarrhea or headaches after consuming too many black currant berries. Some people also faced problems with blood clotting, so if you have a bleeding disorder, it is best to consult your doctor or avoid consuming these berries. Finally, if the given concentration of compounds showmeasurable effects on the body, then the pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are suggested to use these berries only in moderation, and should discuss the addition to their diet with a doctor.
Recipe for Simple blackcurrant jam
Preparation time: less than 30 mins, Cooking time: 30 mins to 1 hour, Serves: Makes about 450ml/16fl oz (1-2 jam jars)
300g/10½oz fresh blackcurrants
300g/10½oz granulated or caster sugar
1 small lemon, juice only
Pick all the stalks from the blackcurrants, place the fruit in a saucepan, cover with 250ml/9fl oz water and bring it to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the skins of the currants are very tender and the liquid gets almost evaporated.
Add the sugar and lemon juice, bring it to boil, then cook until the mixture reaches 105C/220F on a sugar thermometer.
Leave it to cool for a few minutes, then pour into hot, clean jars and seal immediately.
Recipe for Blackcurrant muffins
300 g plain flour
150 g caster sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
250 ml whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
85 g unsalted butter, melted
100 g fresh or frozen (and defrosted) fruit (mixed berries, or just one kind)
handful of flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 190 C and prepare 12 hole muffin baking tray. Sift together flour, 120 g caster sugar, baking powder, soda and salt and place in a large bowl or the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer. Pour the milk into a jug and add the eggs and vanilla essence and mix together. Start mixing the flour slowly and at the same time start pouring your milk-egg mixture into it. Follow with melted butter. Increase the speed slightly so that everything will mix well together.
Once the batter is evenly mixed, stir in the berries using a spoon. Spoon the batter into prepared/lined muffin cases, filling each up to two-thirds and sprinkle the rest of the sugar and almond flakes (if using) on the top. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown on top and bounce back when lightly pressed. Leave in the tin for few minutes to cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Links to some best Amazon products:
Black Currant 900g Value Pack
Kenny Delights Black Currants, 250G
La Vieja Fabrica Black Currant Marmalade (Jam) Bottle, 285 g