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What Does Black Currant Taste Like? Everything You Need To Know!

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

Even though they are quite a common fruit, not many people are actually that familiar with black currants.

Also known as the “forbidden fruit” in the U.S., black currants have actually been banned from the States for a while, so it goes without saying that lots of people have never had the opportunity to try them.

What Does Black Currant Taste Like? Everything You Need To Know!

Luckily though, the ban on black currants has been lifted now, so if you have never had the chance to try them, you will definitely be able to now.

If you have found your way to this article, then you are probably wondering what back currants taste like, and we are here to answer this question!

We will be going over exactly what this “forbidden fruit” tastes like, as well as some other interesting things you should know about them. So read on to find out more!

What Are Black Currants?

Black currants, also known by their scientific name Ribes nigrum, are a type of aromatic and juicy berry that typically grows in the summer.

You can eat them raw and straight from the shrub they grow on, but they also work really well in jams and syrups.

You can spell them as both “black currant” and “blackcurrant”. They are a part of the Gooseberry family and they begin their life cycle as green berries before they ripen into a dark purple, almost black color.

Black currants are actually incredibly healthy and they have many health benefits that you may not know about.

They contain plenty of antioxidants, and they actually contain four times the amount of Vitamin C than oranges!

Black currants are a fantastic food source to have in your diet, and if you have never tried them before, you should definitely start getting acquainted with them.

What Does Black Currants Taste Like?

You might be thinking that black currants taste like any other berry, but they actually have a very unique flavor that you won’t be able to taste in any other fruit.

Black currants, when fresh, are very tart and strong in taste. This is because they contain high amounts of tannins.

Lots of people consider them to be quite sour, so it’s not uncommon to mix them in with other ingredients to make the taste a bit less harsh.

Like other berries, they are incredibly juicy and they contain seeds that you can eat, so you don’t need to worry about getting rid of the seeds.

Lots of people actually consider black currants to be very reminiscent of raspberries in flavor, especially when they are fresh!

They also have quite an earthy flavor and in some cases, they even have a bit of a cherry flavor to them.

Dried black currants taste different again. In this form, they are quite sour, but they are still incredibly sweet. Dried black currants have a texture and appearance similar to raisins.

Lots of people consider dried black currants to be a lot sweeter than their fresh form.

While they are reminiscent of lots of other berries, black currants are still incredibly unique in flavor and there is no other fruit that tastes quite like them.

Health Benefits Of Black Currants

What Does Black Currant Taste Like? Everything You Need To Know!

As we have previously mentioned, there are plenty of health benefits that come with black currants.

They are full of antioxidants and they have four times the amount of Vitamin C than oranges! They also contain vitamins A, B, and E.

There is a lot more going on in terms of the health benefits of black currants though. They are incredibly rich in anthocyanins, which means that they have lots of anti-inflammatory properties too.

They contain a fatty acid called GLA or gamma-linolenic acid, which helps with skin and joint health.

Black currants also contain lots of fiber, manganese, and iron, which are all incredibly beneficial to your overall health.

Some other health benefits of black currants include:

  • They help battle symptoms of various heart diseases.
  • Improves digestion thanks to the fiber.
  • The antioxidants present in black currants can help you fight symptoms of cancer by repairing your damaged cells.
  • Thanks to the magnese found in the black currants, they can help in controlling type 2 diabetes.
  • They may also help in treating and preventing glaucoma, but studies are still being conducted as of today.

These are just some of the health benefits associated with black currants, and research continues to find more health benefits as time goes on.

They are an incredibly beneficial fruit to incorporate into your diet, and they taste great as well, so it’s really a win-win situation to eat them!

Nutritional Value Of Black Currants

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History Of Black Currants

Black currants have quite an interesting history, especially in the U.S. Back in 1911, the U.S. banned black currants and the shrubs they go on from being grown and consumed.

This is because earlier black current shrubs were actually susceptible to diseases and people blamed them for spreading fungus among pine trees.

It was such a big deal at the time because pine trees were absolutely crucial in the logging industry, and the black currant shrubs were harmful to these businesses.

However, as science and technology advanced, we were able to discover newer varieties of black currants and their shrubs that didn’t cause the same issues as their earlier counterparts.

Newer fungicides were also around to help protect the trees from the shrubs.

The modern varieties of black currants and black currant shrubs are less susceptible to disease, and it was also discovered that planting them far enough from other pine trees helped to control the spread of the fungi.

Thanks to the research that was done, the federal ban on black currants was finally lifted in 1966.

Each state was then free to decide if they would allow black currants back into them, and most states lifted the ban by 2003. But it might surprise you to learn that some states still have the ban in place even today!

Culinary Uses Of Black Currants

Black currants can be enjoyed both in their raw and dried form, but there are also plenty of other ways in which you can enjoy them too!

They are quite commonly used as an ingredient in beverages such as vodka and cocktails, as well as liqueur creme de cassis.

There are also plenty of non-alcoholic drinks that incorporate black currents into them. One of the most popular is the British soft-drink Ribena.

As they are berries, another popular way to use black currants is of course in things like jams and pies.

If you prefer your jams and pies more on the tart side, you can make some excellent recipes by using black currants. The same goes for pudding and even crumbles!

Though they work better in sweet dishes, black currants are also perfect for creating sauces for meat, especially gamey meat.

The best meat you can use black currants with includes venison, duck, and lamb. You can use black currants in lots of savory dishes though, even if you are not using meat.

If you enjoy drinking and making tea, you can make some delicious tea out of black currants by using their leaves in water.

Black currants are incredibly versatile and there are so many ways in which you can use them in both food and beverages.

Fruits That Are Similar To Black Currants

What Does Black Currant Taste Like? Everything You Need To Know!

Black currants are incredibly unique, but if you live in a place where there is still a ban on them, then you won’t really be able to try them for yourself.

Luckily, there are some other fruits you can sample in the meantime that are similar to these wonderful berries.

The best fruit to start with is grapes. In a lot of ways, black currants taste a lot like grapes, but of course, there are some differences too.

They especially taste like the kinds of grapes that are used to make wines. This is because those kinds of grapes are quite tart and in some cases, even sour.

Black currants are also similar in both size and shape to blueberries, but blueberries are a lot sweeter than black currants and they are not as tart.

If you want to find a fruit that closely resembles the taste of black currants, raspberries are also great because they have a similar tartness to them.

While these fruits are similar to black currants, they of course cannot compare to the real thing.

But if you cannot get hold of black currants or you live in an area where they are banned, these fruits will give you a much better understanding of how they taste.

What Is The Difference Between Black Currants And Blueberries?

Lots of people think that black currants and blueberries are the same things, but we can assure you that they are two different fruits with two different flavor profiles.

Even though their appearance is similar, when you look at them up close, you can see the difference.

If you have never seen a black currant before, then it’s quite normal to assume they are blueberries, because these two fruits are quite similar. But check the differences below to have a better understanding of each of them.

Black currants have shiny skin and a dark purple color, whereas blueberries have a duller, dustier skin and it is also lighter and bluer in color.

The leaves on Black currants resemble that of a maple leaf, so it grows in five points. Blueberries on the other hand have oval-shaped leaves and there is only a single point found on the stem’s end.

Black currants have a much higher Vitamin C level than blueberries. This is also true with regard to Vitamin A, niacin, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, and protein levels.

While they are similar, black currants are a lot darker and shiner than blueberries, and when you put them side by side, this difference is quite noticeable!

Things To Be Aware of Before Consuming Black Currants

While black currants are considered to be incredibly healthy, there are some things you should be aware of and in some cases, some precautions you should take before handling or consuming them for yourself.

Some people are actually allergic to black currants, so if they consume them they can develop rashes, hives, or swelling. If you notice any of these symptoms after you have eaten them, do not have anymore.

If you are currently taking a type of antipsychotic medication called phenothiazines, then it is recommended that you do not consume black currants.

This medication helps in preventing seizures and black currants can actually interfere with it.

If you are about to have surgery of any kind, it is also suggested that you avoid consuming black currants in any form, this also goes for black currant beverages.

This is because black currants may increase the risk of bleeding, which can be quite dangerous in the middle of a surgery.

Always keep these things in mind before consuming black currants for yourself!


Black currants are quite tart and strong in flavor, but like most berries, they are also incredibly sweet and refreshing.

They are similar in taste to both wine grapes and raspberries, so if you can’t get hold of any, these fruits should give you a better idea of the taste.

If you can get hold of some though, give them a try!

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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