Red Currant – Ribes rubrum Seeds – 20 Seeds
Red currants grow on stout woody shrubs approximately 1.5-2 meters tall. The pearl sized berries are loosely clustered in elongated strands and have a somewhat translucent sheen. Their brilliant red skin encases a pulpy flesh that contains 3-12 tiny edible seeds. Less robustly flavored than black currants, but more tart than white currants, they offer flavors of raspberry, cranberry, gooseberry, rhubarb, hints of rose and a moderately acidic finish.
Red currants are a member of the Grossulariaceae family and are botanically classified as Ribes rubrum and R. sativum. They are one of over 150 species within the Ribes genus, which also includes black currants, white currants, and gooseberry species. Some of the best and most commonly grown cultivars are, ‘Jonkheer van Tets’, ‘Perfection’ and ‘Red Lake’.
Red currant berries are known as “superfruits” as they have naturally high antioxidant capacity due to the pigmented polyphenol, cyanidin, which is found in their skin. They are also a good supply of vitamins C and K, manganese and potassium.
Like the black and white varieties, Red currants are perfectly suited for the typical jelly, jam, syrup or baked good, however, their palate cleansing acidity and moderate sugar level lends them to savory applications as well. They are commonly paired with rich rich game meats such as duck and lamb, especially when cooked down into a piquant sauce with rosemary and red wine. Combine red currants with orange juice and baking spices for a sweet and spicy glaze for baked ham. Other complimentary flavors include, apple, pear, ginger, oats, juniper, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and woody herbs.
All cultivated currant species have Asian and European ancestry. The most significant historical source of cultivation of currants was within Russia during the 11th century when they were grown in monastery gardens, towns and settlements. Red currant plants can still be found growing wild in cooler climates, but are more often cultivated for commercial sale. Unlike the black currant bush which requires heavy annual pruning for proper fruiting, both the red and white varieties only bear fruit on two to three year-old wood.