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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Currants (Pagan Blog Project- "C")


Currants, small delicious berries... and a great source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B5, calcium, and magnesium, as well as one of the plants associated with Hecate, and are a key ingredient of Soul Cakes on Samhain.


Other Health Benefits:
According to laboratory testing currants have the potential to inhibit inflammation mechanisms suspected to in playing a key role in heart disease, cancer, microbial infections and neurological disorders.

The seed oil of the Black Currant  is also high in nutrients, especially vitamin E, and fatty acids. In herblore when a nursing mother ingests black currant seed oil it reduces atopic dermatitis in her child for a nursing period of 2 years, of course this lengthy nursing practice is highly unusual these days, at least as far as I know anyway.... I could be wrong, but in my experience the few nursing mothers that I have known don't nurse very long after their little one gets teeth.


Popular Uses:
Currants are used in cordials, jams, jellies, and preserves, and baked in scones, muffins, etc. In the UK and also used in candies, soft drinks, and Kir... a mixture of Black Currant liqueur and white wine; it sounds yummy! 


Recipes:

Black Currant Muffins
4 oz unsalted butter
6 oz granulated sugar
2 eggs
9 oz plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
8 fluid oz buttermilk
8 oz black currants

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar until soft. In a separate bowl beat the eggs then gradually incorporate them into the butter mixture. In a large bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Make a well in the center and add the butter mixture, buttermilk, and currants, stir gently just enough to mix together. Do not over mix! Grease the muffin tins (or use cupcake cups). Fill 2/3 full with batter and bake for 20 minutes, or until the muffins have puffed up and a golden brown. 
Serve warm with butter... yum!

Apple-Currant Tea Punch
1 liter apple juice
2 black currant tea bags
2 vanilla tea bags
Soda Water or Mineral Water
Currant berries (optional)
Mint leaves (optional)
Lemon wedge (optional)

Boil apple juice, and remove from heat. Place the tea bags in the juice to steep, until cool. 
Remove the tea bags, and pour over ice,  adding soda water to taste. 
Garnish with currant berries, mint and/or lemon and serve.


Soul Cakes (traditionally for Samhain)
3/4 c butter
3/4 c fine sugar
4 c sifted flour
3 egg yolks
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
3 tbsp currants
milk

Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl stir in butter and sugar until fluffy and creamy. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing completely before adding the next. Fold in the allspice, cinnamon, and flour. Stir in the currants. Add milk little by little until you reach the desired constancy. Roll the dough and flatten into a small cake and bake on a greased cookie sheet until lightly browned. Let cool and serve.

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