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What Does Black Currant Taste Like? Discover this New Berry!

Not many people are familiar with black currant. What does black currant taste like? What can we do with them? Well, we’ll give you the answers about these tasty little berries below.

Black currants have been banned in the US for quite some time. For this reason, they have earned the nickname “forbidden fruit.” The good news is the bans are now lifted, and these berries are making a comeback.

black currant berries growing on the bush.

What are Black Currants?

The scientific name of black currant is Ribes nigrum. Regarding spelling, both “black currant” and “blackcurrant” are acceptable.

Part of the Gooseberry family, black currants are small and edible berries. They start off as green and ripen to a dark purple, almost black color.

The blackcurrant taste is uniquely tart due to the high concentration of tannins. We’ll discuss its taste in detail below.

Black Currant History

The earlier black current shrubs are susceptible to diseases. Earlier, they were even blamed for spreading fungus among pine trees. For this reason, they were not allowed in the US back in 1911. At that time, pine trees were crucial to the logging industry. So, protecting them became the priority. 

Thankfully, advancements in science and technology enabled the discovery of new varieties. Newer fungicides also helped protect the shrubs. As a result, these modern varieties are less susceptible to diseases. 

It was also discovered that planting them at a distance far enough from other pine trees is better. It made a difference in the transmission of the fungus. 

All of this development led to the lifting of the federal ban on black currants in 1966. This gave the authority to each state to decide whether the fruit would be banned in their area. Most state bans were lifted in 2003, but some bans are still remaining. 

Health Benefits of Black Currants

Black currants may be small, but they pack lots of health benefits. They boast a high Vitamin C content that is more than what oranges can offer. It also offers Vitamins A, B, and E. 

Blackcurrants are rich in anthocyanins, which give them anti-inflammatory properties. It is also high in potassium and a fatty acid called GLA or gamma-linolenic acid. GLA benefits joint and skin health. 

Black currants are also good sources of fiber, manganese, and iron. Furthermore, it has magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. 

Lastly, black currant seed oil is taken as a supplement due to its high omega-3 and omega-6 content.

package of frozen black currant berries.

What Are the Culinary Uses of Black Currants?

Black currants are most noted for their use in the liqueur creme de cassis. Because of that, most people call black currants “cassis.” They taste good with alcohol, and you will often find them added to vodka and cocktails.

These berries are popular in making jams and pies. You can also add them to muffins and bread. Black currants also make good ice cream flavoring. Likewise, they taste great when used to make blackcurrant juice. Black currants are also excellent when added to puddings and crumbles. 

Another use for them in the kitchen is making sauces for gamey meats. They pair well with venison, duck, and lamb. That said, adding black currants to savory dishes also works. 

Black currants can also be eaten raw by themselves as a dessert. You can also make tea with their leaves! 

The culinary uses of black currants are endless, so they are pretty versatile. 

What Does Black Currant Taste Like?

Are you intrigued about these little berries? Well, you are not alone. If you’ve not tasted them yet, you may wonder, “What does black currant taste like?”

Fresh black currants taste like tart. That’s for sure because they have high amounts of tannins. They are sour and best mixed with other ingredients to mellow their taste. 

Black currants also have an earthy flavor, and there are notes of passion fruit and cherry taste, too. Many people compare the taste of a fresh black currant dark berry flavor to a raspberry.

Once you dried the black currants, their flavor will change too. Dried black currants are likened to raisins because they turn sweet and just a bit sour. There is also a hint of vanilla, more than the grape flavor. 

Do Black Currants Taste Like Grapes?

Black currants look like little grapes. We also mentioned that when dried, they are likened to raisins. This might get you thinking: Wait, but raisins are dried grapes! So, does black currant taste like grape? 

The answer is yes, in some ways. Some people describe black currants are grape-like in flavor, and they are not wrong. 

They taste like grapes, the kind they use in making wines. But, black currants also have other flavors other than grapes. 

What Fruit Is Similar to Black Currant?

In describing the taste of black currants, you can use other fruits as a reference. We’ve already established that they are similar to grapes in flavor. They also are similar in appearance, albeit smaller. 

Black currants are also similar to blueberries in size and shape. 

Does Blackcurrant Taste Like Blueberries? 

Black currants taste like blueberries, too. But, they are noticeably more earthy. They are also more tart. That said, they are more intense versions of blueberries. 

But then again, black currants have other flavor notes, so the taste is not an exact match. 

What Does Black Currant Tea Taste Like?

One of the popular uses of blackcurrants is for making tea. What does black currant tea taste like? 

The black currant tea taste is refreshing. It has a tart flavor similar to passion fruit tea. 

Its fruity notes are more evident in its tea form. When you drink black currant tea, you’ll get berry-like flavors that are naturally sweet. 

Of course, like any other tea, the taste of black currant tea depends on your additives. If you add sweeteners, it will be sweeter. The most popular sweeteners in black currant tea are honey and simple syrup. 

What Does Black Currant Jam Taste Like?

These little purple berries are also made into jam. Black currant jam is often enjoyed in scones, toasts, and cakes. 

It is also a popular topping for pancakes. But what does black currant jam taste like? 

Like other jams, black currant jam is mostly sweet. Yet, it is a little extra when a jam is made from these delicious berries. 

A black currant jam is fruity and tart. It has the tiniest bit of sourness that balances well with the sweetness of the sugar. 

It tastes so good you can even eat it on its own. 

What Flavor Goes Well With Black Currant?

The blackcurrant flavor goes amazingly well with lots of other ingredients. They taste great with chocolate, almonds, and peanuts. These berries also pair well with citrus flavors, as well as mint. 

Black currants also go with the flavors of other berries. These include raspberry and blueberries. They also make an excellent pair for strawberry and cherry. Lastly, their very distinct taste complements gamey meats. They taste good paired with venison, rabbit, and wild turkey. 

What Does Black Currant Look Like?

Fresh blackcurrants look like small, perfectly round grapes. They are deep purple, almost black in hue. They grow on shrubs and are usually sold in stems. 
When you cut them open, you’ll see flesh reminiscent of passion fruits. One black currant berry has many seeds encased in sour, slimy flesh. The seeds are edible, too.

Is A Black Currant A Grape Or Berry?

Even when black currants look like grapes, they are not grapes. They are berries because they are simple fleshy fruits from a single ovary of a single flower. Grapes are actually berries, along with bananas and tomatoes.

Is Cassis A Blackcurrant?

Some people call black currant cassis, but they are not the same. Cassis or creme de cassis is an alcoholic drink made from black currants. It’s just that most people, especially Americans, are not familiar with the fruit itself. This causes them to equate the drink to black currants, as they are more familiar with it. 

Are Black Currants Poisonous?

No, blackberries are not poisonous. They are safe to eat and very nutritious. They were banned because they were spreading the fungus to pine trees. It is not because they are thought to be dangerous. There are poisonous berries, but black currant is not one of them. 

Can I Eat Black Currants Raw?

Yes, you can eat raw black currants. Be warned, though, that they are sour. Some people enjoy eating fresh black currants alone like you’d do bananas and grapes. Others like them added to bread and muffins because doing so mellows their taste. Most find black currant jam a delight, though. 

How Do You Know When A Blackcurrant Is Ripe?

You’ll know that black currants are ripe when they’re already purple. Unripe black currant berries are green. 
We hope this article has provided you with the answer to “What does black currant taste like?” and pushed you to try it.


Ah, black currant, what does it taste like? The taste of black currant is unusual. It is a mixture of different flavors, including passion fruit and grape. It also has hints of raspberry and cherry flavors. 

Black currants are also sour and intense, so not many people enjoy eating them alone. Not to mention, most Americans are unfamiliar with the fruit due to the ban on black currants for a long period. Its unique flavor is sometimes considered an acquired taste. 

To enjoy black currants, they are usually sweetened to mask their tartness. They’re also made into jams and pies and paired with other fruits. The fruit is most popular for its inclusion in the liqueur creme de cassis. If you want to see if you’ll like the black currant flavor, try this alcoholic drink first. 

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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