Blackcurrants, also called cassis, are dark berries native to central and northern Europe and northern Asia.
Blackcurrant berries have a distinctive sweet and sharp taste popular in jam, juice, ice cream, and liqueur.
The fruit has an extraordinarily high vitamin C content, good levels of potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B5, and a broad range of other essential nutrients. Blackcurrant seed oil is also rich in many nutrients, especially vitamin E and several unsaturated fatty acids.
Blackcurrants may be eaten raw, but they are more commonly processed. They are a common ingredient of Rote Grütze, a popular kissel-like dessert. In the UK, Europe and Commonwealth countries, some types of confectionery include a blackcurrant flavor, and in Belgium and the Netherlands, cassi is a flavored currant soft drink. Other than being juiced and used in jellies, syrups, and cordials, blackcurrants are used in cooking because their astringent nature brings out flavor in many sauces, meat dishes and desserts.
It was once thought that currants needed to be "topped and tailed" (the stalk and flower-remnants removed) before cooking. However, this is not the case as these parts are easily assimilated during the cooking process. If one prefers, the whole blackcurrant stem with fruit can be frozen, then shaken vigorously. The tops and tails are broken off and fruit can be separated easily.