Redcurrant: the summit of sweet & sour!
Redcurrants, which originally grew wild in Scandinavia and the northern climes of Asia, were cultivated in Northern Europe and Great Britain in the Middle Ages, then introduced into France by Olivier de Serres, the 17th Century botanist who is considered the first French agronomist. The numerous varieties of redcurrants – white, green, red – and the diversity of the lands they are grown on, spread out in almost all European countries, provide a wide palette of sourness, freshness and colors. Redcurrants are particularly appreciated as condiments in savory dishes: game, foul, pork, lamb (where in the UK they often replace mint sauce) and fish. The gooseberry, which is the name given to the light green variety of the berry, is known in French as the mackerel berry because it is often used in a sauce for this oily fish. Redcurrants are at their best in sweet & sour concoctions, such as chutneys and they provide their jellifying features to several jams, either alone or mixed with other fruits. For desserts, they contribute their rich assortment of fragrances and colors to numerous dishes.