Basics of Cooking

Although high in natural sugars, the intense acidity of blackcurrants means the overriding taste profile is sour. This means blackcurrant berries can add significant flavour and colour values to savoury dishes without unwanted sweetness.

FROZEN OR FRESH?

Most NZ blackcurrants are  individually-quick-frozen (IQF) in a state-of-the-art freezing plant in Nelson. As a result of the IQF process, the fruit retains integrity and thaws very well. Blackcurrants are an excellent example of where a frozen food can be the equal of, if not better than chilled-fresh. You can use frozen fruit, wherever recipes suggest fresh.  The berries don’t always need to be thawed in advance, just add frozen berries to the recipe if appropriate. Frozen blackcurrants are readily available in retail supermarket packs or in 15kg cartons for food service and food manufacturing uses.

HOW TO USE BLACKCURRANTS?

Some culinary suggestions showing the blackcurrant’s wonderful potential:

  • Blackcurrant’s intense flavour and colour has huge potential for summertime gelatos.
  • Blackcurrants, tomato and mint are a surprising combination that goes with just about anything but even better as its own salad course.
  • Blackcurrants give bananas a Cinderella makeover, especially effective in smoothies.
  • Blackcurrants also go well with many tropical fruits: especially mango.
  • Blackcurrants and blueberries: Blackcurrants lift the blueberry flavour profile as blueberries often lack flavour when cooked. This is best shown in replacing half the blueberries in a traditional blueberry muffin recipe with blackcurrants. (Blackcurrants boost colour and flavour and reduce costs. Blackcurrants are also higher in anthocyanin antioxidant values than blueberries, so they are healthier too.)
  • Blackcurrants and lamb: The French have always paired their best cabernet sauvignon wines with classic lamb dishes. Using blackcurrants with the lamb itself is a perfect pairing.
  • For summer casual dining barbequed lamb with a blackcurrant salsa or pickle.
  • For more formal dining roast or grilled lamb with a blackcurrant and pinot noir jus: a stunning sauce
  • The blackcurrant-pinot noir jus concept works equally well with lamb, beef, venison, duck and pork.
  • Blackcurrants can dominate delicate seafood, but is lovely with rich smoked salmon.
  • Blackcurrants and Greenshell mussels might seem surprising but the gooseberry flavours in the blackcurrants means a savoury blackcurrant sauce or jelly pairs well with grilled Greenshell mussels and a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc.
  • Blackcurrants and honeydew is a superb pairing: especially drizzled over thick Greek-style yoghurt.
  • Blackcurrants-infused mayonnaise has a stunning colour shock value and is incredibly good as a dipping sauce for barbequed prawns or for vegetable crudities.
  • Blackcurrant and dark chocolate is divine, and not just for dessert or bakery. Try adding blackcurrants to a Mexican chocolate-chilli mole style sauce for an incredible flavour and colour result.
  • In the spirit of pan pacific fusion food: try a blackcurrant-onion savoury marmalade heated and tossed through soba noodles: a revelation in flavour and texture.
  • And blackcurrants, added to a fruit-mince mix, make the defining Christmas mince pie!