Black currants are edible berries that grow on the black currant shrub. Black currants are native to Central and Eastern Europe as well as parts of Asia. Only since the 1600s did black currant production become professionalized. They have been dubbed America’s forbidden fruit as they have been banned in many states since the early 1900s because the shrub was thought to carry a fungus that was detrimental to pine trees.
Black currants are famous for their inky blue color and strong flavor. They are a fabulous source of nutrients and actually contain far more vitamin C than oranges. Black currants are also loaded with flavonoids, beta-carotene, lutein, and phenolic acid.
What do black currants taste like? Black currants taste like a mixture of raspberries, grapes, blackberries, and gooseberries. They are very juicy with a strong tart taste and an acidic and tannic finish. Dried black currants have sweet vanilla and wildflower notes.
You won’t have to worry about the lack of flavor when digging into black currants! They have an acidic taste similar to grapes. Ripe black currants even have hints of vanilla and cherry.
What do blackcurrants look like? Blackcurrants look like larger and rounder blueberries. They are also much darker (hence the name) than blueberries. They aren’t exactly black but are inky blue or deep purple. Blackcurrants are about 2 cm (1 inch) in diameter.
Unfortunately, Americans have been missing out on these amazing fruits for many years, but they are slowly gaining popularity. It is now legal to grow black currants in New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. Americans are now starting to explore this wonderful fruit and create jellies, jams, syrups, and even add them to meat to add some lovely acidity.
In-Depth Guide to Black Currants Taste
It is time to explore the taste of black currants. Are they tasty or way too acidic? Do they just taste like grapes? We are going to answer all of these questions and more. After reading this section, you will know exactly what black currants taste like and if they are a match for your palette!
Blackcurrants taste similar to grapes, combined with hints of cherry, raspberry, and blackberry. They are acidic and tannic. Blackcurrants are very juicy with a distinct sweet-tart flavor.
Blackcurrants are definitely a unique fruit. They need to be sampled to truly grasp their intriguing flavor profile. Think if a raspberry and grape had a baby. The first thing you will notice is how juicy blackcurrants are and just how acidic. If you are looking for a smooth sweet berry, look elsewhere!
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Are Black Currants Sweet Or Sour?
Black currants are mostly sour and acidic. They do have some sweet notes, but they are overpowered by the tannic, acidic, and sour flavors. Due to this, most people don’t eat black currants by themselves, rather mixing them with other fruits or converting them into jam.
Black currants are not sweet berries. They taste like very sour and tannic grapes with some hints of raspberry. Many people make the mistake of expecting black currants to be sweet but are left with a juicy mouthful of sourness!
Do Blackcurrants Taste Like Grapes?
Blackcurrants taste like sour grapes and are high in tannins giving them a bitter-sweet and sour flavor. Blackcurrants have additional flavors not found in grapes, such as raspberry, vanilla, cherry, and earthy tones.
Blackcurrants are a complex berry! There is nothing simple about their flavor profile. Overall they taste most similar to bitter, sour, and slightly sweet grapes. But you can definitely taste some other things going on, such as blackberry and raspberry. And when black currants get super ripe you can even taste vanilla and cherry!
Does Black Currant Taste Like Licorice?
Black currants do not taste like licorice. Licorice tastes salty and has a distinct aniseed flavor. Black currants taste like sour grapes with some bitter notes that may slightly remind you of licorice.
Black currants are not a good substitute for licorice. Black currants are not salty, and even though they are sweet and bitter, they have a classic berry flavor profile which is very different from licorice. Both licorice and black currants have complex yet different flavor profiles.
Does Black Currant Taste like Blueberry?
Black currants taste a little like blueberries. However, black currants are much tarter, juicier, and have intense earthy tones compared to blueberries. Blueberries are much sweeter, while black currants tend to be acidic.
Black currants taste significantly different than blueberries. Black currants taste like a combination of raspberries, blueberries, and grapes. They are mildly sweet, bitter, and acidic. Black currants have hints of vanilla and cherry.
Due to their strong bitter flavor, most people don’t eat black currants by themselves. Black currants are often used in sauces and jams or combined with sweeter fruits. If you don’t mind the tart and acidic flavor, you can eat them raw, but this is a slightly acquired taste. We recommend cooking them with a sweetener to tone down the tartness.
The Bottom Line – Do Black Currants Taste Good?
Black currants taste amazing! Black currants have a range of flavors, from sweet to bitter to acidic. They taste like sour grapes combined with blueberries and raspberries. When ripe, they are sweeter and have rich vanilla and cherry notes.
Black currants are a unique berry because they have a very earthy flavor. They can also be very bitter and astringent. Black currants are much less sweet compared to other berries. So if you want to eat them raw, you need to wait until they are very ripe. Otherwise, you can cook them in honey to add some much-needed sweetness!
How to Eat Black Currants? What Do Black Currants Go With?
Can you just eat black currants straight from the bush? Or should you turn them into yummy jelly? Let’s look at the best ways to eat and pair black currants!
How to eat black currants? Black currants are versatile, but they are typically too bitter to eat fresh. The best ways to black currants include creating jam, making a sauce (amazing with duck), adding them to muffins and bread, or even creating black currant juice!
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The fact that black currants have such a varied and complex flavor means they can be used for virtually anything. The most common ways to eat black currants is to create a jam that tastes incredible with scones or create a sauce and pair it with turkey or duck.
What does black currant jam taste like? Black currant jam tastes similar to sour grapes combined with blackberry jam. It has a bitter, sweet, and acidic flavor. Pair it with scones and cream to create a delicious snack.
Are you tired of eating cranberry sauce with your turkey? Then why not try blackcurrant sauce? Blackcurrant sauce has an intense earthy flavor and tastes like a mixture of grapes, raspberries, and blackberries. It adds incredible flavor to turkey, goose, and duck.
Whether you are looking for a new juice to try or want to create an incredible sauce, blackcurrants are ready to help. This unique berry is a must-try!
Black Currants Health Benefits
Did you know black currants have more vitamin C than oranges? Yep, that’s right, a single serving of black currants contains 85% of your daily required vitamin C. Vitamin C is extremely important in aiding your immune system and helping with wound healing. Vitamin C also helps you maintain healthy bones and teeth.
Blackcurrants are also very high in GLA and potassium, which can help regulate your blood pressure and protect your heart against plaque. Blackcurrants can even help you recover from a tough workout by increasing blood flow. Blackcurrants also improve your joints and are great at reducing inflammation. If you have stiff joints or pain then start incorporating some black currants into your diet.
These amazing berries can also improve your eyes. The GLA in black currants has been shown to improve the eyes’ ability to adapt to the dark, increase blood flow and alleviate symptoms of visual fatigue. Blackcurrants really are a superfood and have a variety of different health benefits, from protecting your heart to boosting vision and even increasing your immune system.
Is Black Currant Still Illegal In The US? Black Currant History
Black currants were originally banned in the US in 1911. You could not grow, sell or transport blackcurrants. This was in an effort to protect the pine industry as they were convinced blackcurrants carried a dangerous fungus. The government systematically destroyed the blackcurrant bush through spraying.
The federal government removed the ban on selling, growing, and transporting blackcurrants in 1966. However, the ban was still maintained in many states. It was only in 2003, when scientists showed that blackcurrants could be safely grown near white pines, that many states allowed blackcurrants to be grown.
The long-time ban has severely stunted blackcurrant cultivation in the US. They are only grown in a few areas in the Northeastern and Pacific Northwest. Blackcurrants are so rare that only 1 in 1000 Americans have ever tried them!
Blackcurrants are a small berry with a big reputation! They have a strong bitter and acidic flavor and taste like a combination of grapes, raspberries, and blackberries. The best way to eat blackcurrants is to turn them into a sauce and jam. We love scones with cream and blackcurrant jam!