Low-fat Vitamin-rich Redcurrants: Cooking, Baking, Health and Nutrition

What do you know about redcurrants, or more specifically the cultivar ribus rubrum, a fruit belonging to the Grossulariaceae family of plants also including gooseberries? Are you intrigued by their vitamin content, their contribution to an interesting and varied low-fat diet, their phytonutrient secrets? Maybe you want to find out more. Read on!



Redcurrants, along with their close cousins blackcurrants and whitecurrants, belong to the family Grossulariaceae and the genus Ribes. In appearance they are small, shiny red fruits, less than a centimeter across, their flowers being a dull greenish shade and their fruits growing in bunches. Grown all along Europe as a native and cultivated on other continents, they have for centuries been a feature of many domestic gardens due to the ease with which they can be cultivated and grown for a household crop, outstripping the currently more popular blackcurrant in this respect. Are you looking to grow more fruits and vegetables as a hobby or a money-saving economy drive, stretching out your food budget that crucial little bit while adding more nutrients to your diet? Then redcurrants may well be an excellent bet for you, grown on thriving and easily propagated shrubs.




But let's examine the contribution that redcurrants can make to a healthy and varied diet. What vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients do they contain? In the entry for 'Currants, red and white, raw' on the Nutritiondata website, information suggests that redcurrants could be viewed as a rich source of potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin K.[7]



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Is weight-loss your main concern, if you are troubled by weight problems or outright obesity? The fat content of a 112 gram portion of redcurrants is given as zero grams – and that's got to be great if you're looking to cut down the fat content of your diet. Don't forget that fat contains almost twice the calories per gram of carbohydrate or protein.


When it comes to fiber, redcurrants contain five grams of the vital dietary roughage constituent per one hundred and twelve gram portion. This constitutes one fifth of the recommended Daily Value of twenty-five grams. Pretty impressive, huh?


What can you do if you're looking for a recipe utilising redcurrants? What redcurrant recipe should you go for? Redcurrant jelly is a great condiment for both savoury and sweet dishes, especially popular with cooked meats – maybe you'd be interested in producing your own? Wines, preserves, icecream sauces, summer pudding and mousses are also terrific options if you care to take a trawl through a few cookery books or foodie websites.


Phytonutrients are an especially popular subject when it comes to the area of nutrition and superfoods these days. Do redcurrants have anything to offer in this respect? They certainly contain potentially useful antioxidants such as phenols and anthocyanins according to studies and reviews such as Pantelidisa et al[1] and Seeram, N.P.[3]


Looking for a fruity, tasty, healthy addition to your diet, upping your fruit intake and maybe improving your health and nutrition? Why not try some redcurrants today?


References.


[1] Pantelidisa, G.E., Vasilakakisa, M., Manganaris, G.a., Diamantidis, G.R. 'Antioxidant capacity, phenol, anthocyanin and ascorbic acid contents in raspberries, blackberries, red currants, gooseberries and Cornelian cherries'. Food Chemistry. 102;3: 2007, pp. 777-783.


[2] Hjalmarsson, I., Wallace, B. Ed. Janick, J. 'Gooseberry and Currant in Sweden: History and Cultivar Development'. Plant Breeding Reviews. Hoboken; John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Vol. 29, pp. 159-160.


[3] Seeram, N.P. 'Recent Trends and Advances in Berry Health Benefits Research'. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry. 2010; 58:7, pp. 3869–3870


[4] International Food Information Service. 'Dictionary of food science and technology'. Reading; IFIS Publishing: 2009, p. 359.


[5] Wang, S.Y. 'EFFECT OF PRE-HARVEST CONDITIONS ON ANTIOXIDANT CAPACITY IN FRUITS'. ISHS Acta Horticulturae 712: IV International Conference on Managing Quality in Chains - The Integrated View on Fruits and Vegetables Quality.


[6] Wikipedia. 'Redcurrant'. Wikipedia website. 30/10/2010. Available at <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redcurrant> Accessed on 18/10/2010.


[7] Nutritiondata. 'Currants, red and white, raw'. Nutritiondata website. 2009. Available at<http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1879/2> Accessed on 18/10/2010.


[8] F.D.A. (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). 'How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label'. 06/18/2009. Available at <http://www.fda.gov/food/labelingnutrition/consumerinformation/ucm078889.htm> Accessed on: 05/11/2010.

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