Popular in British scones and known in French as cassis, black currants are not well known outside of Europe and Asia. However, this little berry is bursting with nutrients and has started gaining popularity in the rest of the world because of its health benefits.
Native to Northern Europe and Asia, black currants are related to the Ribes berry. The black currant is a shrub that grows to about a meter or two in height. It looks very similar to the red currant, to which it is related. The main difference being one has black berries while the other has bright red berries, and the black currant shrub has a very strong smell.
Black currants have been grown in Europe and Asia for years, however they gained popularity in the UK during World War II for their high dosage of vitamin C. UK governments encouraged the growing of black currents, and they have been popular ever since.
Black currants are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, and they are making a comeback with a variety of health food uses.
Black currants have high levels of vitamin B5, iron, potassium, and phosphorus, and they may help reduce the risk of cancer and slow down Alzheimer's disease.
Also, black currant seeds are rich in essential fatty acids.
Around the world, black currants are used to make a variety of products. Black currant wine is popular in Russia. Also in Russia, black currant leaves are used to flavor tea and vodka. In the UK, black currant jelly, cordial and candies are all well known. Black currants are used in a variety of desserts and drinks throughout Europe, as well.
With all of their health benefits, black currants have the potential to become even more popular. The more people know about how good black currants are for your health, the more people will want to eat them.
- Photo Credit Aconcagua (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Schwarze_Johannisbeeren_Makro.jpg), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Schwarzejohannisbeere.jpg
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