Blackberry vs Blackcurrant: What’s the Difference?

Written By Acacia Crossley

Updated:

When summer rolls around, you first think about eating more refreshing fruit. From strawberries to mangos, summer is only complete if you gorge yourself on fresh fruit and plenty of it. 

Summer is the ideal harvesting season for many fruits, including blackberries and blackcurrants. Seeing as they tend to be sold at the same time of year, people often get blackberries and blackcurrants confused for one another, but are they really as similar as they first appear? 

It is the taste of the blackberry and blackcurrant that creates such an obvious separation between them. Blackberries are sweet fruit with a pleasant tartness, whereas blackcurrants are predominantly tart, followed up by a strong sourness. 

What is a Blackberry?

Blackberries have been cultivated for centuries across Europe and America despite being called an invasive species.

They are grown on a range of prickly, thorny bushes belonging to the genus Rubus, which also happens to be the same kind of bush from which raspberries are grown.

Picking Blackberries From a Bush

Perhaps that is why blackberries greatly resemble raspberries, only much darker in colour to the point where they are almost black (hence their name).

When blackberries are at their ripest, they are perfectly sweet, with plenty of juice to stain your clothes with.

They can be sour and unpleasant when unripe, but that sourness turns into a tangy tartness that helps balance the sweetness once the blackberries are ready to eat. 

Is a Blackberry a Type of Berry?

No, they are not! Many think that because berry is a key part of the name of blackberry, they are real berries, but they are not. They are aggregate fruit which is not technically a berry at all. 

What is a Blackcurrant?

To many, blackcurrants may seem like an odd, exotic flavour, but it is ubiquitous in the UK, where they have a very rich cultivation history.

Packed full of vitamin C, blackcurrants were encouraged to be grown in the UK to help British children get enough of their vitamin C when supply ships were stopped by the Germans during World War II.

The blackcurrants were turned into syrup and have remained one of Britain’s most popular flavours ever since, included in sweets, drinks, and a whole range of snacks. 

As their name would suggest, blackcurrants are currants, grown from blackcurrant shrubs, which are purposely cultivated because of their edible, round berries.

There are several varieties of blackcurrants but, for the most part, blackcurrants have a powerful taste that has been likened to grapes in their tartness. They are acidic to be too sour when eaten by themselves, which is why they are not usually eaten raw or alone. 

Can You Freeze Blackcurrants?

Yes! Many people freeze their fresh blackcurrants as they do not last longer than a week in your fridge. So long as you remember to flash freeze the currants before storing them long them, they will freeze very well. 

Similarities Between Blackberry and Blackcurrant

There are fewer similarities between blackberries and blackcurrants than you would initially think. But they still share enough characteristics to cause confusion, such as:

Summer Fruits

Though blackcurrants are in season a little earlier in summer than blackberries, both fruits are summer fruits that can be enjoyed alongside each other as early as July and sometimes in August, depending on when the fruits are ripe.

Either way, no summer would be complete for a fruit lover without blackberries and currants. 

Short Shelf Life

As is the case with many smaller fruits, blackberries and blackcurrants have a very limited window in which they are at their freshest.

This is typically 1 week for both types of fruit so long as they are stored correctly in your fridge – a short shelf life even for fresh fruit. 

Dark Appearance 

Blackberries and blackcurrants get the first part of their names from their dark signature colours, which do appear almost black in some varieties of the fruit.

Of course, the colour of either fruit will vary slightly but, for the most part, will remain very dark. In most light, they have a purple tinge.

Differences Between Blackberry and Blackcurrant

Despite so many people thinking that blackberries and blackcurrants are identical simply because of their similar names and their place together on supermarket shelves, there are far more noticeable differences between the fruits than there are similarities: 

Name Confusion 

Okay, so it is very easy to see why most people think that blackberries are real berries and blackcurrants are not.

But it is quite the opposite.

Blackberries are a type of aggregated fruit, while blackcurrants are true berries. But this is the case for many of the world’s most popular berries including raspberries which are also aggregated fruit.

Flavour

If you ever go on a nature walk in the middle of summer, you will likely see your fellow hikers picking wild blackberries to enjoy as a sweet treat on their walk.

Their juicy sweetness can be the perfect refreshing treat you need.

You could not do the same with blackcurrants because they are far too acidic and sour to enjoy as you can a blackberry with little sweetness. 

Picking Blackcurrants

Uses

Because of their lack of sweetness, blackcurrants are far better enjoyed when they are turned into syrup or used as flavourings for other foods like sweets and jams.

They need just enough sugar to make their sourness bearable while still being able to maintain their unique taste. 

Blackberries, on the other hand, have a far more varied range of uses in the kitchen as they are far sweeter, so they can be served raw. Or they are juicy enough to turn into various preserves and use in baking. 

Shape

Once you ignore the colour of either fruit, it is easy to see how blackberries and blackcurrants differ in appearance alone.

Blackberries share a striking resemblance to their cousin fruit, the raspberry, plump and roughly the size of a grape. Blackcurrants, while plump, are small and round with shiny skin. 

Blackberry vs Blackcurrant: Which Wins?

If you had a bowl of blackcurrants and a bowl of blackberries in front of you, which would you dive into? It’s time to vote between blackberry vs blackcurrant:

Do You Prefer Blackberries or Blackcurrants?

Blackberry and Blackcurrant FAQs

Do you still have questions about blackberries and blackcurrants? Then these common queries might be helpful:

Do Blackcurrants Taste Like Blackberries?

Not at all. Blackberries, when ripe, are sweet and juicy with a little tartness. Blackcurrants, however, are sour and very tart even when perfectly ripe.

Are Blackcurrants and Blueberries the Same?

They might have a similar size but blueberries and blackcurrants are completely different fruits. Blueberries are sweet and blue in hue whereas blackcurrants are far sourer.

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