Blackcurrants are shrubs from the family Grossulariaceae which commonly grow in the moderate climate. It is not a demanding plant when it comes to soil and cultivation, that's why it can often be seen in home gardens. Berries grow on shrubs which are around 2 meters tall. Their roots, leaves and flowers are covered with numerous glands which produce characteristic smell.
Cultivation of blackcurrants
Blackcurrants originate from the central and northern part of Europe and the western regions of Asia. Before this unique variety of berry reached our tables, its wild shrubs could be met in small alder forests near rivers and in damp woods. Currently, blackcurrants occur in almost all regions of the world, which are characterised by temperatures favourable for their growth. Pro-health properties of blackcurrants were known, as early as in the 17th century, when this fruit was proclaimed to be the "elixir of youth". Blackcurrant is a natural source of vitamin C.
Poland is the world leader in terms of the blackcurrant production. On the European scale, 57% of these fruit are produced in Poland, and on the worldwide scale - 53%. Each year, production of Polish blackcurrants reaches almost 100 thousand tons. Popular cultivars of this fruit include:
- Ceres – variety characterised by tasty berries which are gathered in big clusters and ripen in the middle of July; they easily fall out from the stems; they are resistant to most diseases;
- Titania – it has medium size berries, gathered in big clusters; they ripen in the second decade of July; this variety is characterised by resistance to low temperatures and low susceptibility to diseases;
- Ojebyn – characterised by medium and large size berries which ripen in the first half of July, sensitive to Cronartium ribicola.
Blackcurrants in kitchen
Blackcurrants make a perfect snack, they are excellently suitable for different kinds of desserts. They are basis for delicious preserves. This type of berries, to a main extent, compose the cumberland sauce, which perfectly enhances flavour of different kinds of meat, such as venison, pork or lamb. Blackcurrants are also basis for juices, cordials and liqueurs, including sweet fruit liqueur called Crème de cassis.
Other uses for blackcurrants
Use for this distinctively tasting berry is not limited solely to food products. Blackcurrants can also help us to take care of our beautiful appearance. Currently, beauty industry more and more eagerly takes advantage of the unique properties of these fruit, by adding their extracts to creams, lotions or lipsticks. Blackcurrant oil is also used by Spa salons, among others, for skin firming treatments.