Health & Wellness

Nutritionally Speaking: Red currant scones, anyone?

Red currants: Coming to us in a small package – while offering a burst of sweet-tart flavor – these red berries have a long and flavorful history.
Enjoyed in the Lorraine province of France since the 1300s as Lorraine jelly or Bar-le-duc jelly, red currants are also championed by the British. Enjoyed there as a flavorful topping for their Sunday roast lamb, it is easy to prepare by combining red currants and sugar with boiling water and simmering until thick.
The German beverage Johannisbeer Schorle or John’s berry, which they traditionally add to soda, gets its name from its ripening date near St. John’s Day, which falls on June 24.
Fun fact: berry leaves can be used instead of black tea to make Kombucha because of the berry’s high tannin content. And in Russia, the leaves are used medicinally for their astringency, supporting healthy elimination and reduced inflammation due to their high levels of tannins. Another favorite way to enjoy red currant jam is in a Linzer torte or cookie, with its origins in Linz, Austria.
Black currant seeds – from red currants’ cousins, black currants – are a great source of the health-supporting Omega-6 Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) oil, but red currants shine nutritionally for their high level of vitamin C and antioxidant phytonutrients.
”World’s Healthiest Foods” author George Mateljan describes phytonutrients as ”a plant’s home security services – think of them as the plant police, fire department and coast guard,” all rolled into one. These constituents protect the plants as they grow and produce food and plant medicine for our use, rich in the nutrients that can support optimum health.
In general, the darker the berries, the more they are a source of antioxidants called anthocyanidins, which protect us from various cancers resulting from oxidative stress.
These berries, generally in season from late spring through the summer, are easy to preserve without the added sugar by freezing or drying. They are also available dried, year-round.
For a healthy treat, add some red currants or one of their dark berry relatives to your next bowl of oatmeal, as a salad topping, and/or enjoy paleo (grain-free) scones – my favorite.
Paleo currant scones
Adapted from ”Elena’s Pantry,” by Ingrid DeHart
2 cups blanched almond flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 large, free-range egg
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest, from a lemon
¾ cup currants
In a food processor, pulse together almond flour and baking soda
Pulse in egg, coconut sugar and lemon zest
Add currants and pulse to combine
Gather the dough into a ball and transfer to a cutting board
Pat dough into a large circle, ¾-inch to 1-inch thick
Cut dough like a pizza, into 8 slices
Using a spatula, move slices onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between
Bake at 350° for 12 to 16 minutes until edges are browned



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