Blackcurrants are much too good to be relegated to jams and cordials. In all their purple might, they have an intensely punchy flavour, unmatched even by damsons or raspberries. And while those ubiquitous blueberries often disappoint, blackcurrants always deliver. Just a handful brings colour and a tangy tart edge to everything from summer pudding to creamy fool. One blackcurrant leaf adds a blousy perfume to a glass of chilled Pimm's.
It's criminal that fresh British blackcurrants are given so little retail shelf space during their season. They only need a quick pick over, and the results are an ample reward. The ready-to-use frozen sort is not to be sniffed at, either. Blackcurrants freeze well and make a fantastic, near instant compote. They're wonderful in porridge too.
Why are blackcurrants good for me? Blackcurrants contain sumptuously rich levels of health-promoting micronutrients, even compared with other "superfood" berries. They are an exceptionally rich source of vitamin C – containing three times more than oranges – and natural phenolic compounds, notably anthocyanins. This winning combination appears to bestow an anti-inflammatory effect, promoting cardiovascular and brain health, and offering some protection against age-related eye problems. Some research suggests the phenolic compounds help prevent urinary tract infections and relieve the symptoms.