The Currant is the fruit of the different varieties of currants, bushes up to 2 meters high, of the Saxifragáceas family, herbaceous and woody plants that grow spontaneously in temperate and cold regions.
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- 1 Nutritional properties
- 2 Health properties
- 3 varieties
- 1 Other species of currants
- 4 Sources
- 5 See also
These fruits are low in calories due to their low carbohydrate intake. Blackcurrants and redcurrants, which have higher amounts than some citrus fruits, are especially rich in vitamin C. In general, wild berries are a good source of fiber; that improves intestinal transit, and potassium , iron and calcium , astringent tannins and various organic acids. However, what really characterizes these fruits is their abundance of natural pigments (anthocyanins and carotenoids) with antioxidant action.
In human food, this type of fruit constitutes one of the most important sources of anthocyanins, which give them their characteristic color and which are together with organic acids such as oxalic acid or malic acid, also responsible for their flavor. Vitamin C has an antioxidant action, as do anthocyanins and carotenoids. This vitamin intervenes in the formation of collagen, bones and teeth, red blood cells and favors the absorption of iron from food and resistance to infections. Potassium is necessary for the transmission and generation of the nervous impulse, for normal muscular activity and it intervenes in the balance of water inside and outside the cell.
Properties for health
The anthocyanins and carotenoids are abundant in the composition of all these fruits of the forest. From the biochemical point of view they are characterized by having a high antioxidant activity; neutralize the action of free radicals that are harmful to the body. These properties can give rise to very diverse physiological effects; anti-inflammatory effects and antibacterial action of anthocyanins, among others. These fruits contain, in addition to anthocyanins and carotenoids, other antioxidants such as vitamin C.
The dietary intake of these substances strengthens our immune system or the body’s defenses and contributes to reducing the risk of degenerative, cardiovascular and even cancer diseases. Likewise, vitamin C has the ability to promote the absorption of iron from food, so it improves or prevents iron deficiency anemia.
There are certain vital situations in which the organic needs of vitamin C are increased, such as pregnancy, lactation, smoking, use of certain medications, stress and diminished defenses, intense sports practice, cancer, AIDS and chronic inflammatory diseases. In such situations, the consumption of wild berries rich in vitamin C is especially indicated.
Fiber is a very abundant component in these fruits, so its regular consumption during the months in which they are abundant can be a remedy to treat constipation and intestinal atony.
The fruits when they are still green, are rich in tannins, which gives them that rough feeling on the palate and are astringent and refreshing, but once they reach full maturity, the tannins decrease and the fruits acquire laxative, tonic and purifying properties.
In particular, blueberries are ideal for fighting infections and for improving peripheral circulation. The juice of blueberries of the red variety, exerts a surprising antiseptic and antibiotic action on the germs that cause urinary infections, especially on Escherichia Coli . In case of cystitis, it is recommended to take a large glass filled with about 300 milliliters of fresh juice daily, for one to three months, as treatment and prophylaxis.
In addition, blueberries contain chemical acid, a substance that is eliminated and acidifies the urine, thus preventing the formation of kidney stones or calcium phosphate kidney stones, not other types of stones.
Common currant varieties
There are mainly three varieties of common currants:
Early varieties: They are those that are collected in late June or early July. Among these we have varieties as well recognized as “Junnifer” with very thick bright red fruits arranged in short clusters. Its flavor is very sweet and aromatic. Widely used in jams.
Another well-known variety is called Jonkheer van Tests , a very vigorous and open-looking currant. It produces very juicy red fruits with less aroma on longer bunches than the previous variety. It supports colder temperatures so it is usually planted in more continental climates.
Medium varieties: They are the ones that produce fruits during the month of July. The Blanka variety also matures during the first fortnight. It is one of the most recognized white varieties for its great productivity and one of the ones with the most aroma and juice.
The Ben Conan variety produces fruits with a lot of juice and flavor that resist diseases very well. The White Grape variety provides fruits with a lot of flavor and a very large size.
The Red Lake variety is a variety that matures in the middle of this month producing dark red fruits, rather small in size, very sweet and aromatic. It is a very vigorous and densely branched shrub.
If we want currants during the second fortnight of July, we can choose the Delbard Giganta variety , so called because it provides the thickest currants on the market.
Late varieties: They are those that bear fruit at the end of July or during the month of August. Among these we have the Premiere groiselle-raisin that usually appears at the beginning of August or the end of July or the Groiselle-raisin Industria that does it during the second half of August.
Other species of currants
In addition to the common gooseberries, we have other species of gooseberries. The most prominent are the following:
Blackcurrant Ribes nigrum : It is also a species of Euro-Asian origin. It differs from the common species by its black fruits and its less erect and wider appearance. Its fruits are edible and have properties similar to red currant. Buffalo gooseberry Ribes odoratumIt is a shrub that reaches 2.5 meters in height. It grows on the plains of the central United States. It has trilobed leaves that acquire a golden yellow coloration when autumn arrives, so it is used as a decorative shrub. It also produces black fruits gathered in large hanging clusters. In addition to being very decorative, it is also cultivated for its leaves that have a flavor similar to cloves, which is why it is also known as “Clove gooseberry”
Golden gooseberry Ribes aureum
Flowering currant Ribes sanguineum : Deciduous shrub up to 3.5 m tall from North America. Stems without thorns. Leaves lobed with the underside densely pubescent. Pink or reddish flowers that are born in spring producing bluish-black fruits in hanging or erect clusters. The variety Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum offers more hanging inflorescences and less pubescent leaves. Among the main cultivars we have “Broklebankii” with pink flowers and golden leaves or “White Icicle” with immaculate white flowers. Flowering currants are mainly grown as garden plants.
Fuchsia flower currant Ribes speciosum : deciduous shrub up to 1.8 meters tall. Natural from California, it offers a very wide aspect. Bright green oval leaves with 3 or 5 lobes. It blooms in winter producing small hanging flowers that produce reddish globose fruits.
Gooseberry or gooseberry Rives uva-crispa It is a thorny and rigid shrub up to 1 meter in height. It comes from central Europe. It produces pink flowers that give way to very acid greenish fruits that are used for making jams and jellies. This species has been hybridized in North America with the North American gooseberry species Ribes hirtellum in order to produce varieties more resistant to mildew attack.