The blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum), also known as black currant or cassis, is a woody shrub in the family Grossulariaceae grown for its berries. It is native to temperate parts of central and northern Europe and northern Asia, where it prefers damp fertile soils and is widely cultivated both commercially and domestically.
It is winter hardy, but cold weather at flowering time during the spring reduces the size of the crop. Bunches of small, glossy black fruit develop along the stems in the summer and can be harvested by hand or by machine. Breeding is common in Scotland, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, and New Zealand to produce fruit with better eating qualities and bushes with greater hardiness and disease resistance.
The raw fruit is particularly rich in vitamin C and polyphenols. Blackcurrants can be eaten raw, but are usually cooked in sweet or savoury dishes. They are used to make jams, preserves, and syrups and are grown commercially for the juice market. The fruit is also used to make alcoholic beverages and dyes.