Alongside the overall increasing demand for natural flavours, we’re receiving requests for those that are also, well, a bit less well known. Those that not only taste great but have a plethora of health benefits associated with the fruits themselves. Here’s where we feel the small, dark blackcurrant comes up big and bright!

The blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum), is a deciduous shrub in the family Grossulariaceae grown for its edible berries. It is native to temperate parts of central and northern Europe and northern Asia, where it prefers damp fertile soils.

Blackcurrants can be eaten raw, but are usually cooked in sweet or savoury dishes. They are well known in jams, preserves, and syrups and juice, but you may not be as quick to recall it as the base for alcoholic beverages and even dyes.

There’s a reason that blackcurrant flies just under the radar. Blackcurrants have in fact been called “the forbidden fruit” in the major market of the United States. That is because at one point the shrubs were infecting white pine trees and so, blackcurrants have been removed from many areas of the USA. While hard to find in most North American stores, the blackcurrant-based drink Ribena is very popular in the U.K. For the Caribbean market, where there is a lot of American influence in contemporary culture but roots of British influence, currant may be an under-utilised flavour.

The blackcurrant berry packs a huge nutritional punch, containing vitamins A, B-5, B-6, B-1, E and C. The most significant is vitamin C. In fact, blackcurrants carry four times the amount of vitamin C as oranges, and double the amount of antioxidants as blueberries. The berries also have high concentrations of potassium, antioxidants, anthocyanins, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), polyphenols. Medicinally, people take blackcurrant to help their blood flow, immune system, eye health, gut health, and kidney health. Blackcurrant extracts are shown to reduce risk factors for metabolic conditions such as type 1 and 2 diabetes. All that vitamin C is used by the body to metabolize protein and form collagen, which is essential for skin care and anti-aging while GLA helps cells in the heart resist damage and slows down platelet clumping in blood vessels. Clinical trials with blackcurrants found that these berries even improve eye function.

The leaf of the blackcurrant shrub has its own list of beneficial properties. They are antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antitoxic, antiseptic, anticancer. Thern there's Blackcurrant seed oil, which contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a type of omega-6 fatty acid that’s been said to help ease inflammation in the body. The high GLA and anthocyanin content can help reduce joint or muscle pain,  stiffness, soreness and damage. In some studies, GLA supplements were so effective that participants with rheumatoid arthritis could reduce their usual pain medications. Although there isn’t much scientific research about blackcurrant seed oil and its effectiveness for skin conditions, the National Psoriasis Foundation recommends the oil to help ease psoriasis symptoms. Taken orally, blackcurrant seed oil can help slow the growth and development of psoriasis patches. It also can be applied directly to dry, itchy, or stinging skin.

So, if you're seeking a flavour assocated with health and want to separate yourself from the pack.. The berries themselves can be tossed into any recipe that calls for a bit of tangy sweetness. It's a fruit that blends well with others and can add depth and dimension. 

Fill out our Request A Sample form now to get started on your blackcurrant flavoured juice, jam, or ... any product really!