Do you eat currants? Did you know it is currant season in Pennsylvania and New York, right now in early July?
I grew up with currants as my dad planted them on his property early on in my growing up. I don’t remember being too excited about them, but my mother made a tasty currant jelly which we all enjoyed. They are a part of the gooseberry family and are native to parts of western Europe. In the 1920′s currants were a popular fruit grown in the United States, but a disease outbreak led to a federal ban on the planting of currant bushes. The ban was lifted in 1966, but the fruit never rebounded to its original popularity level.
Since caring for my own home and buying my own produce I have rediscovered currants and found them valuable for several things. My favorite local farmer also grows them and so I was able to get some this evening when I stopped by. He didn’t have any picked but let me come down to the field with him to get 2 quarts of red currants. As I stumbled through the fenced in chicken area, where the currants and gooseberries are, he was busy telling me he doesn’t offer this to just any customer who comes by. But I am a 6 year faithful customer, stopping in weekly to get whatever he has in season.
So why bother with currants? They aren’t particularly sweet but they pack a pungent punch of great nutritional value which makes them worthwhile to incorporate into our diet in the few weeks of the year that they are available. One of my favorite ways to use them is to add them to smoothies, along with a sweeter berry or the ever faithful banana. (Did I mention we go through 5-7 lbs of bananas a week there at our house? No, well we do.)
Currants are available in several colors – red, white, and black. I picked red most recently but I can get all 3 colors at my farmer’s house. Red currants are high in Vitamin C . Eat just 2 oz. of red currants and you’ll have gotten 40 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin C. These fruits have four times more vitamin C than oranges do, according to Cornell University’s Chronicle Online. They are also high in fiber, Vitamin K, iron, antioxidants,
Black currants are high in Vitamin C and Vitamin A. 100 g fresh berries provide 230 IU of vitamin A. They are also high in flavonoids which are anti-oxidants. They contain iron and good amounts of Vitamin B compounds, especially B1, B5, and B 6. Black currants have anti-oxidant value (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity- ORAC) of 7950 Trolex Equivalents per 100g, which is one of the highest value for fruits after, elderberry, and cranberries. Red currants, however, possess comparatively less ORAC value at 3387 TE than the black variety.
For more info: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/black-currants.html
Red Currant Smoothie
- 1 cup red currants
- 1-2 ripe bananas
- 2 cups water kefir
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 1/4 cup water until gelled
- 1 tbsp matcha powder
- 1 small handful kale or spinach leaves
- Add all ingredients to blender and blend until all ingredients are well mixed.
- Serve immediately.
Purposeful Nutrition: Healing With Food. http://www.purposefulnutrition.com/
Recipes from around the Web with currants:
From Organic Authority: Cooking With Currants
From 101 Cookbooks: Quinoa with Currants, Dill, and Zucchini
From HeatherHomemade: Red Currant Pie
From Wee Kitchen: Current Cordial
From Calculus to Cupcakes: Fresh Red Currant Scones
From Honest Cooking: Red Currant Mousse
From Leite’s Culinaria: Sweet Saffron Rice Pilaf With Nuts and Currants
From Rules of Dieting: Quick & Simple Oaty Sultana Cookies (Just substitute dried currants for the sultanas)
Shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday, Wellness Wednesday, Natural Family Friday.
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