Showing posts with label Scandinavia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scandinavia. Show all posts



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***** Location: Ireland, Europe
***** Season: Mid-Summer
***** Category: Plant


The redcurrant is a beautiful looking berry, the lushest red imaginable when fully ripe. It is much loved by blackbirds and other birds -- in our Irish garden, we drape the bushes with netting, so as to keep some of the berries for ourselves. It is picked from about the end of June to the second half of July, when the fruit fruit are a delicious kigo.

The berries are both sweet and sour, too sour for some to enjoy raw, but delicious when properly ripened, and often eaten with sugar and cream -- if not straight off the bush!

They make a delicious juice, a perfect jelly, and a wonderful jam (if one does not mind the little pips) -- as well as being the most essential ingredient in “rote Grütze”, a Northern German / Danish summer pudding stewed from red fruit. They are also a key component of “Rumtopf” (see below) -- itself a kigo for winter.

Redcurrants freshly picked from a net-covered bush

Text and photo © Isabelle Prondzynski


The Redcurrant (Ribes rubrum)
is a member of the genus Ribes in the gooseberry family Grossulariaceae, native to parts of western Europe (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, and northern Italy). It is a deciduous shrub normally growing to 1-1.5 m tall, occasionally 2 m, with five-lobed leaves arranged spirally on the stems. The flowers are inconspicuous yellow-green, in pendulous 4-8 cm racemes, maturing into bright red translucent edible berries about 8-12 mm diameter, with 3-10 berries on each raceme.

Although blackcurrant is more traditionally associated with medicinal uses, English and German language herbalist sources consider redcurrant berries to have fever-reducing, sweat-inducing, menstrual-flow inducing, mildly laxative, astringent, appetite increasing, blood cleansing, diuretic and digestive properties. Some of these proposed effects are probable, due to the verified high levels of vitamin C, fruit acids, and fiber the berries contain. Tea made from dried redcurrant leaves is said to ease the symptoms of gout and rheumatism, be useful in compresses for poorly healing wounds, and as a gargling solution for mouth infections.



Photo © Isabelle Prondzynski

Worldwide use

Rote Grütze

This is a Northern German and Scandinavian speciality, a delicious summer pudding made of red fruit, which must contain a good helping of red currants to give it that pleasantly sweet and tart flavour. In Danish, it is called Rødgrød. One of the favourite tongue twisters given to learners of Danish, is “rødgrød med fløde på” -- being summer pudding with liquid cream floating on top, just as it should.

The recipes available on the internet in English, are mostly written by expatriates, often of the second or third generation, or indeed their friends. The one which follows below is pretty genuine.

Isabelle Prondzynski


In German, the red and black currants are called "Johannisbeeren" (St. John's berries), because they usually ripen round about St John's Day (Johannistag -- 24 June). This major festival, celebrating the birth of St. John the Baptist, is an integral part of the mid-summer celebrations in many European countries, often with bonfires and dances.

Isabelle Prondzynski


Rodgrod med Flode (Norwegian Fruit Jelly with Cream)

Amount ..... Ingredient --

1 pt Red currants
1 pt Raspberries
2 c Water
1/2 c Sugar
1 tb Cornstarch
2 tb Water
1 t Vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, rinse fruit. Combine fruit and water; simmer over medium heat about 10 minutes. Drain; stir in sugar. Blend cornstarch and cold water into a smooth paste. Add cornstarch to fruit, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a boil; cook 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Sieve mixture, if desired. Chill. Serve with cream and decorate with blanched almonds, if desired.

4 servings



akasuguri アカスグリ

In Japan, redcurrants can grow, but do not ripen when grown outside -- there is just too much rain usually at the time they should be turning red and filling out.



In Kenya, redcurrants do not grow, as they need the seasonal contrasts between cold and warm -- even at the higher altitudes, these contrasts are not sufficiently marked.

Things found on the way


redcurrants --
each with its own drop
of rain

four snails
in the redcurrant bush --
summer rain

Photo © Isabelle Prondzynski

a bowl full
of fresh redcurrants --
and two green leaves

redcurrants --
the best hide in the thick
of the bush

~ Haiku and Photo : Isabelle Prondzynski


summer treat --
redcurrant jam
on toast

© ~ laryalee

.. .. .. .. ..

Photo © Isabelle Prondzynski

Related words

***** Blackcurrants
***** Raspberries

***** Strawberries

***** Gooseberries

***** Rumtopf


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