Monday, April 5, 2010

Black Currants




Easter Sunday was perhaps the finest Oklahoma has experienced in many years. From the gentle breezes to the temperature this year it was spectacular in every way. The early flowering shrubs added a scent that is unmistakably and magically spring-like.

The Black Currants are in full bloom sending their sweet scent throughout the countryside. The bright yellow, scarlet centered little flowers are dancing along the branches before becoming the changeling that is their fruit. Incredibly hardy, this North American gem is found in almost every locale regardless of soil conditions. The Black Currant likes early sun and is grateful for dappled shade in the afternoon making it a perfect companion for large orchard trees.

The small black fruit is an absolute plethora of health benefits and worthy cultivation for the Vitamin C content alone, which is four times the recommended daily dosage. Anyone who has ever become acquainted with black currants on the bush knows better than to eat while picking; the fruit is dreadfully tart. It is never eaten raw, but rather must made into jams, jellies, or sauces where it is sweetened to a distinctive delicious flavor. Black currant juice is often made into liqueurs and cordials to be used medicinally during winter months for the wonderful health benefits.

*All varieties of currants are rich in bioflavonoids that are thought to boost the antioxidant effect of vitamin C. They also help inhibit the growth of cancer and may possibly prevent other diseases.
*Black currant has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, they have the similar effect as of ibuprofen or aspirin.
*A powder made from dried black currant skin is used to treat dysentary, especially that caused by E-coli, a common cause of bacterial stomach ailments.
*Black currant juice, tea and syrup is use to ease the inflammation of a sore throat.
*Black currants help stimulate the digestive processes.
*Black currant seeds are rich in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Therefore it is beneficial in maintaining cardiovascular health and helps improve skin and hair texture.

The blessings provided by Nature spring forth naturally and in this case, in a lovely package that arrives sweetly in the earliest days of Spring with the promise of health. Try to add some currants to your diet this year!