Black Currants, Berry Allstars , 0 Comments

 

Summertime, and the living is easy. This is my favorite time of year, when fresh produce is plentiful and everything tastes so good, you can eat almost anything raw! Besides shopping at the local farmer's market, one of my favorite weekend activities is whipping up recipes for ingredients that I've just re-discovered. And right now, that spotlight has fallen on the black currant. 

Currants, ranging in color from dark eggplant to glistening ruby to opalescent white, are one type of berry that has never been popular in the States. But with such incredible nutritious credentials, I've always wondered why! Black currants are the top picks when it comes to nutritional profiling: just half a cup of black currants contains more than 300% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C! They also contain flavonoid antioxidants, which have been shown to protect against certain types of cancer. When people start talking about antioxidants, it's often to reference their presence in drinks like wine and grape juice. But another great option is pure black currant juice (which is easily found in the natural drinks section of health food stores). And black currants don't stop there. Vitamins A, B-1, B-5, and B-6 are all plentiful within these glossy beauties, along with minerals like iron, manganese, copper and phosphorus. To really top it off, they're also a good source of potassium and fiber, nutrients which are key in helping us maintain proper hydration and digestive balance.

Incorporating black currants into your diet can be very simple; one of the easiest methods is to use them as a topping for yogurt parfaits. They have a very refreshing taste that is sharp on the palate, and are widely used as jams and jellies in Eastern Europe. Another excellent way to include them is to put a twist on the traditional American favorite of rustic apple pie. The tartness of the berries works well to counter the sweetness of the baked apples, and it is a flavorful combination that will take you (and your admiring guests) by surprise! Black currants can also be enjoyed on ice cream, in muffins, or as an ingredient in fresh fruit cocktails. Their culinary uses are manyfold, and you can check back with us later this week for an original recipe from yours truly! Stay tuned!

- Maria Vasylivna