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A form of currant from a hybrid plant derived from the Ribes Sativum, but confusingly crossed and inter-crossed. They are botabically, a many-seeded berry.
Along with their cousin the white currant they now occur in the wild from Europe to Asia - but these plants are probably descended from those cultivated in the 15th century.
When grown, they have two points in their favour - they are more drought-tolerant than other berries (such as blackberries, and survive well on poor soils.
The berries are a traditional ingredient of summer pudding, and also make excellent jelly. The red variety combining well with lamb and mutton.