FruitGateway - Introduction to blackcurrant

Introduction to blackcurrant

The Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) is a species native to central and northern Europe and northern Asia. Plants from Asia are sometimes distinguished as a separate variety Ribes nigrum var. sibiricum, or even as a distinct species Ribes cyathiforme.

Blackcurrants Blackcurrant fruits obtain their distinctive blue/purple/black colour from high levels of anthocyanins. These anthocyanins have an exceptionally strong antioxidant activity which give the fruit their well known health promoting properties. Blackcurrants contain more antioxidants than most other fruit and vegetables, including blueberries.

Blackcurrants have been bred at the Institute since the late 1960s and our varieties are all named after mountains in Scotland, so you will find Ben Hope, Ben Gairn and Ben Alder grown throughout the UK and beyond. It has been estimated that Institute bred blackcurrants account for more than 50% of the global crop and new varieties are frequently launched.
Further pages in this section provide a brief introduction to various aspects of blackcurrants and their research at the Institute. By following these links, you can view details of the Institute blackcurrant varieties (including the new fresh fruit variety Big Ben pictured opposite) and more details of the Institute blackcurrant breeding programme. You can also see extensive details of our health and nutrition work at Big Ben