What is Black Currant?
Black Currant is a small perennial shrub, a species of the Ribes berry that grows in the central and northern part of Europe. It has a characteristic aroma due to which it can be distinguished from the other currant berries. This shrub is also known for the French “cassis” that it has. The black currant berries are dark purple in color. It is an edible berry, and it grows to a height of about two meters high in the woody branches. It is known as “Munakka” in Hindi.
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Picture 1 – Black Currant Image
Source – www.allotment.org.uk
Black Currant Scientific Name
The scientific name of Black Currant is Ribes nigrum. This means black ribes.
Black Currant Plant
The black currant plant is actually a shrub, which grows to a height of only 1.5 to 2 meters. It grows very nicely in woody branches. It grows well in hilly regions. The plant is well suited in temperate and cool zones that do not have very strong winds. Of the entire plant, the part that can be used is its leaves, seeds and the fruits.Leaves
The leaves of this shrub are arranged in an alternate and simple fashion, it is about 3 to 5 cm broad, and is lobed palmately, and maple like. It has a serrated margin. Itr is primarily a deciduous shrub. The leaves are pale green in color. The number of leaf is reduced in case of extreme water stress. Since the shrub is deciduous, all the leaves are shed in winter.
The flowers are 4 to 6 cm in diameter. There are about 5 petals, which are reddish green to brownish in color. These petals are formed in the racemes of 2 to 9 com long.
The black currant fruit is dark purple to black in color. It has a glossy skin, and the calyx is persistent at the apex. It contains several seeds in it. A good and well grown bush can produce as many as 5 kilograms of black currant berries at one go. The ripe berries are hung in a fully set strigs of pendulous and small sweet berries. The berries are generally ripened from top to bottom.
Picture 2 – Black Currant Picture
Source – buzzle.com
How to grow Black Currant?
The black currants need a good environment for its growth. Growing black currants is not a very easy task. It requires a proper location, moderate temperature for its growth.
Black currants require a temperature of 85 degree Celsius for its growth. The leaves get sunburn easily, and the shrub also can not withstand heat. The plants like the warmth of the morning sun, and can be grown easily in the high shade of the fruit trees. They cannot withstand the salty winds, but like the ocean winds.
These shrubs prefer soils which are richer in clay and are heavy, though they are not very concerned about the soil. If a thick layer of mulch is added to the soil, then it keeps the soil cool, and also adds to the humus content of the soil. The plant cannot tolerate alkaline soil, or a salty one.
Since they have fibrous and shallow roots, they are fit for deep irrigation. It should be continuously watered until the fruits are harvested.
The plant should be annually pruned, since it increases the yield of the berries. The program of pruning should be carried out in such a way that the berries are produced in the spurs of two to three year old woods. If pruning is done at regular intervals, it maintains a regular supply of the berries.
The cultivars of this plant hold on well to it. If one wants to have fresh berries, then they should be harvested about three weeks after they color up. Bu8t if they are being harvested for being stored, then they should be picked when they are dry. But while harvesting, care should be taken that they are4 not picked by the spur. Picking should be done carefully by the stem.
Black Currant Nutrition Facts
This fruit is a nutrient rich fruit. It has many of the important nutrients in adequate proportion. The amount of nutrients in one cup of black currants is:
- Total Fat – 0.4g
- Sodium – 2 mg
- Carbohydrates – 17.2g
- Calcium – 61.6 mg
- Cholesterol – 0 mg
- Potassium – 360.06 mg
This fruit is rich in vitamin C. Apart from this; it also provides iron, potassium, calcium and manganese in good quantity so that it stimulates the energy level in the body.
Black Currant Health Benefits
- Since they are rich in vitamin C, they are a good antioxidant.
- It is very rich in proteins, which makes it rich for potassium, even more thwan bananas.
- The syrups that are made from this fruit are good for the treatment of sore throats.
- Leaves of black currant are used for diuretic purpose. Black currant tea is often used as a treatment against bleeding gums and diarrhea.
- Anthocyanin is present in the berries, which helps in the inhibition of certain enzymes such as Cyclo-oxygenas, which helps in the reduction of inflammation of certain organs of the body and the harmful effects of arthritis in the legs.
- Black currants have an alkalizing property, due to which it is suitable for the treatment of uric acid and stone treatment.
- Black currant juice is rich in proanthocyanididins and anthocyanins, which are very effective against the treatment of tumor cells in the body.
Black Currant Uses
- In many parts of the world, black currant leaves are often used to as a flavoring agent for tea.
- Blackcurrant leaves and fruit may be added to sweeten vodka, so that it results in a yellowish-green beverage that has a sharp astringent taste.
- Since Black currant is a rich in vitamin C; it is often consumed as juice by some people.
- The fruit is used to make a variety jams, ice creams and jellies.
- They are a common ingredient for the preparation of Rote Grütze, which is a popular dessert in the German cuisine.
- Blackcurrant flavored candies are a liked by all children.
- The astringent flavor of the berry helps flavoring a number of sauces, desserts and meat dishes.
Black Currant Recipes
Black currant is used for making a host of delicious desserts and dishes. it adds its exquisite flavor and characteristic aroma to the food, which becomes irresistible for the people to leave this dish. The following are some of the dishes that are prepared with black currant.
Black Currant cake
This dish can be prepared very easily and it very delicious to taste.
Black Currant jelly
Black currant jelly is deliciously sweet, and is used extensively for its medicinal value of a laxative and cooling agent. Too much of sugar should not be added to this jelly, since it can impair the medicinal property of this dish.
Black Currant ice cream
This is a very delicious and yummy dish that is liked by one and all.
Other delicious recipes that are prepared with black currant are:
- Black Currant shake
- Black Currant Juice
- Black Currant sorbet
- Black currant float
- Black Currant Pavlova
- Black Currant Mousse
- Black Currant Pudding
Picture 3 – Black Currant Juice Pictures
Source – www.blackcurrantfoundation.co.uk
Black Currant Extract
Black currant is a very competitive product of the GNI. It has many advantages . Some of the advantage of this extracts are:
- It is produced only with water
- It is free of pesticides
- It is very pure – over 25% pure
- It is dark violet in color
- It is highly soluble in water
- Since the content of anti bacteria is very high, it has a long shelf life
Black Currant Tea
The tea that is prepared from the black currant leaves is a caffeine-free herbal tea. In addition to the leaves, it is also made out of the fr5uits of this shrub. The tea is purple in color and the taste is reminiscent of its fresh leaves.
This tea provides many benefits to the user. It is packed with vitamins. It is often packed for its therapeutic value. Black currant tea also contains the flavor of its bush.
Black currant Seed oil
The oil that is derived from the seeds of the Ribes nigrum is known as black currant seed oil. It is rich in omega 6 and omega 3, i.e. fatty acids. It has a good content of linoleic acid and stearidonic acid in it.
It has certain advantages due to the presence of the nutrients in good proportion. It is anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective oil. It has a good reputation for controlling diarrhea. It also has anti-diuretic properties, which helps in promoting the output of urine. It also reduces arthritic pain and rheumatic pain. It id often recommended by the doctors for use as a diet supplement.
Black currant Disease
There are two major organisms that can damage the black currant crop. Black currant gall mite and cecidophyopsis ribis is the organism the damage black currant. The disease that affects this plant the most are Black currant reversion disease and vector disease.
Black currant is a very nutritious and delicious fruit. It has the capacity to treat many of the ailments due to its nutritional property. Try this fruit if you still did not taste it, else you will surely feel sorry to miss this amazing fruit.
- by Simran Goyal
- July 19th 2011