Black Currants – The Black Gold of Greece
One of the most vital of superfoods are black currants, also once known as the Greek black gold.” It has shown to have many health benefits helping to treat different diseases.
Dried black currants once held the number one position of all exports of Greece, especially at Katakolon Port because people knew the health benefits associated with these raisins when incorporated into their diet.
Of course, there were no clinical studies to prove so in these times, but instead were observed in those who ate them.
The word “currant” describes any dried fruit of the vine: Vitis vinifera. The fruits are laid out to dry in the sun or with dryers; the dehydrated grape then becomes a currant.
Three kilos of grapes yield one kilo of raisins.
History of the Black Currants of Greece
The blackcurrant was cultivated mainly in the north and west Peloponnese. Today, in the greater area of ancient Olympia, there are large vineyards whose residents systematically engage in the production of black currants.
In its dried form, it is an excellent product consumed plain or as an essential ingredient in cakes, cookies, puddings, and pastries.
Health Benefits of Black Currants
Black currants help to improve and prevent conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, and cancer. This Greek “superfood” is beneficial for everyone, including those who want to lose weight and for diabetics. The beneficial properties of the black currant have been proven in numerous human clinical studies, making it a high-ranking superfood.
- Potassium and magnesium to help reduce fluid retention;
- Iron to help treat iron-deficiency anemia;
- Antioxidant Vitamin C to aid in the absorption of iron and repairing properties for aging skin as it enhances collagen and elastin production;
- Vitamins B1, B2, B6;
- Probiotic properties to help bowel function;
- Contains antimicrobial, antibacterial and vasodilatory activity;
- Helps to lower blood pressure, especially for those with Type 2 diabetes because it does not disturb their blood sugar levels;
- Helps reduce liver fat accumulation in patients with fatty liver;
- Maintains its properties even at high temperatures! So, currants can be used in cakes and bread while still maintaining its beneficial properties. Naturally sweetened, black currants can also replace sugar when baking.
- Black currants have more dietary fiber than most fruits! This way, they help in constipation and bowel function.
The Production Greece’s Black Gold
Producers usually harvest black currant in August and then dry it in specially designed outdoor areas called threshing grounds. The currants lay in the sun for eight days, depending on the weather, and then they are turned over to dry out for two or three more days.
Once dried, they are gathered and sent for processing, a treatment known as “cleaning” where stems and seeds are discarded. Then, they are sold to grape dealers and cooperatives where they undergo further processing, packaging, and distribution to both the domestic and worldwide markets.
How to Enjoy Black Currants
Add 2 – 3 tablespoons of raisins – the recommended daily amount to get the health benefits of black currants – to your salad, yogurt, pastries, or as a snack mixed with other nuts.
Do not hesitate to use it in the pastries you make as its antioxidants are not destroyed by baking.