The flowers are edible and tastier, with a much different flavour to what you thought. Its smell can also grow on you…perhaps?
The Flowering currant – Ribes sanguineum has been a plant that I have looked at and admired for its colourful beauty but never wanted to eat it due to the smell. It smelt like Lantana (those poisonous flowers) and my nose always told me- “No way don’t eat that”. One of my friends remarked that she loved the smell. I found that hard to believe and after further reading online discovered it can be like coriander- many love it, many find it repulsive.
People have described the smell as musty, like cat wee. So I set out to take the smelling of flowering currant seriously. I smelled the flowers, and then the leaves separately. They’re different. Do this enough times and the “currant” smell emerges. Perhaps that would be enough to convince you to try eating them. (Obviously once you are 100% sure you have the correct plant, and start small, a nibble of a flower would do – as you never know what you may react to, as this is a new plant) Be Mindful.
Part eaten: Flowers and the young leaves
Smell: Musty wee crossed with currant essence
Taste: Sweet and sagey
Uses: Scatter flowers on salads, pickle flowers, make a syrup or cordial, infuse vinegar, gin or vodka, dry them or freeze them for later. Galloway Wild Foods has further uses for them.
Gather Victoria shares recipes to infuse the flowering currants in different mediums. So I went ahead and tried it. I’ve made a face wash with the flowers in water, it was quite refreshing. The vodka has also turned out quite flavourful. You can really taste the fruity currantness and the hints of sage. I mixed mine with soda water, but I did feel like it was lacking something. The vinegar is really tasty, floral and sagey!
Let me know if you’ve made anything with flowering currants and how did it go?