Seasonal Ingredient of the Week: Red Currant

Maybe it's their ruby red appearance, or similarity to holly berries, but we can't help but associate red currants with Christmas. In season from July through to early September though, these berries are really quite the opposite of Winter: bright and fruity with a burst of flavour. They grow low on bushes, and with prime conditions in the UK, they're the perfect berry to add to your end of summer foraging list. 

Pretty enough to adorn even the most extravagant of cakes, they're also high in Vitamin C and K, as well as a high level of antioxidants. Other than topping cakes? They're often used in jams and jellies, served with autumnal meats such as lamb or game. They're also an ingredient of traditional summer pudding, and make a great addition to crumbles. For the best, pick glossy, plump, firm currants. 

RECIPE IDEAS

- Starting with the most popular, red currants are a popular fruit to be made into jams. We're not a fan of the sugar laden traditional jam though, so we like to make red currant chia jam - simply red currants cooked down in a pan, then blended with chia seeds and left to firm up. 

- Although not necessarily a recipe, they're also the most beautiful decoration for cakes and bakes. For a simple yet effective topping, simply pile berries on the top of a naked cake (vines and all) - also great with a couple of raspberries or strawberries dotted around too. 

- Although a little tart on their own, cook down with either a splash of maple of some raspberries and use as a compote for anything from porridge through to pancakes. 

- We're yet to master the traditional summer fruit pudding 'health-ified' but for a fruity bake, try adding red currants to your usual cake mix - we popped some in our banana bread mix and it made for a delicious fruity twist.