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Tiny and translucent, with shiny skin, the red currant has a sweet-tart taste and grows in clusters. It is a unique berry to be appreciated.
Red Currant berries are available during the summer months.
Botanically, the trio of currants is just a pair. The red currant is Ribes rubrum and Ribes sativum; the black currant is Ribes nigrum; and the white currant is merely a variety of the red currant. All currants are round, small berries that often retain withered remnants of the flower that grows opposite their stem end. The delicate fruit is picked in clusters to avoid damage.
Red currants are tart but can be eaten fresh, cooked or dried. Add fresh red currants to cornmeal pancake batter, the cook currants with sugar and water until the mixture has thickened and use as a syrup. Combine nectarine slices, fresh red currants and chopped thyme in a baking dish, top with a mixture of butter, sugar, oats and flour then bake into a crisp. Toss red currants with chopped frisee and vinaigrette for a winter salad. Spread fresh red currants over shortbread dough, top with steusel dough and bake into bars. Red currants will keep, cool and dry in the refrigerator, for up to a week. As they are highly perishable, use immediately after purchase.
Growing on rather vigorous ornamental bushes that can quickly reach five to six feet in height, a mature currant bush is capable of producing ten to twelve pounds of berries in one season. Winter hardy, currants grow in many climates and are able to flourish in moist to wet, well-drained soil and partial shade, unlike other fruit.
Recipes that include Red Currants. One is easiest, three is harder.