The redcurrant is a member of the gooseberry family. Redcurrants
are pearl sized, candy apple red and somewhat translucent. The taut thin glossy skin encases a soft, pulpy flesh which contains small edible seeds. Because the seeds of the redcurrants are held within the fruit, they are considered true berries and defined as epigynous berries. When the berries’ skin is pierced, the fruit explodes with bright, fruity aromatics and a tart and tangy flavour.
The species is widely cultivated, with some having escaped gardens and can thus be found growing in the wild across Europe and extending into Asia.
Redcurrants have a naturally high antioxidant capacity due to the presence of pigmented polyphenol, cyaniding, mainly in the skin and seeds. They are notably acidic, containing, amongst other acids, a significant amount of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), with a concentration of about 40mg/100g fruit.
Although frequently cultivated for jams and cooked preparations, it is often served raw or as a simple accompaniment in salads, garnishes, or drinks when in season.
Redcurrant jelly is a condiment often served with lamb, game meat including venison, turkey and goose in a festive or Sunday roast. It is essentially a jam and is made in the same way, by adding the redcurrants to sugar, boiling, and straining.
When decorating cakes and puddings, dip redcurrants in lightly whisked egg white then roll in sugar to give them a frosted effect.