Blackcurrant

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Blackcurrants

see also: Redcurrant

The Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) is a species of Ribes berry native to central and northern Europe and northern Asia. It is also known as French "cassis".

Culinary uses

In Russia, sweetened vodka may be infused with blackcurrant leaves or berries, making a deep yellowish-green beverage with a sharp flavour and astringent taste. In the UK, blackcurrant cordial is often mixed with cider to make a drink called Cider & Black available at pubs. Adding a small amount of blackcurrant juice to Guinness is preferred by some to heighten the taste of the popular beer.

Blackcurrant berries have a sweet, sharp taste popular in jelly, jam, juice, ice cream, and liqueur (see Ribena). They are a common ingredient of Rote Grütze, a popular kissel-like dessert in German cusine. In the UK, Europe and Commonwealth countries, some types of confectionery include a blackcurrant flavour, and in Belgium and the Netherlands, cassis is a favored currant soft drink. In the United States, other than Ribena, a nationally available blackcurrant beverage is called CurrantC. Blackcurrant syrup mixed with white wine is called Kir or Kir Royale when mixed with Champagne.

Preserving

Other than being juiced and used in jellies, syrups, and cordials, blackcurrants are used in cooking because their astringent nature brings out flavour in many sauces, meat dishes and desserts. It was once thought that currants needed to be "topped and tailed" (the stalk and flower-remnants removed) before cooking. However, this is not the case as these parts are easily assimilated during the cooking process. If one prefers, the whole blackcurrant stem with fruit can be frozen, then shaken vigorously. The tops and tails are broken off and fruit can be separated easily.

History

During World War II, most fruits rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, became almost impossible to obtain in the United Kingdom. Since blackcurrant berries are a rich source of vitamin C and blackcurrant plants are suitable for growing in the UK climate, blackcurrant cultivation was encouraged by the British government. Soon, the yield of the nation's crop increased significantly. From 1942 on, almost the entire British blackcurrant crop was made into blackcurrant syrup (or cordial) and distributed to the nation's children free, giving rise to the lasting popularity of blackcurrant flavourings in Britain.

How much does one cup of blackcurrants weigh?

Estimated US cup to weight equivalents:

Ingredient US Cups Grams Ounces
Blackcurrants
1
100 grams 4 ounces

Conversion notes:
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