[NAFEX] my currant opinion

Stephen Sadler Docshiva at Docshiva.org
Mon Aug 25 14:26:40 EDT 2008

A taste for black currant seems a much more European than American thing.
Hybrid that I am, black currant and cherry have been my favorite fruit
flavors for as far back as I can recall.  I'm not a hard candy eater, but as
a child was, of course; and black currant was just the best flavor for
pastilles and Christmas candies - also a wonderful chocolate candy filling.
Although I generally think tea needs nothing more than milk and sugar, a
pinch of dried black currants in the teapot is wonderful.  When I use
recipes that call for currants - meaning the dried Zante grapes Americans
call currants - I use black currants instead.  That may be the easiest way
to find use for them.  Preserves are good, but red currants make better
Jelly (black currant/apple jelly is terribly good, though), IMHO, and black
ones make a fine liqueur (crème de cassis) or syrup.  The syrup is good in
Italian sodas and for snow cones, also drizzled over anything chocolate.  A
spoonful of either the liqueur or syrup can be put in a champagne glass and
topped up with champagne or Prosecco to make a kir royale.  Dried currants
can replace some of the raisins in a recipe, and can be stored with raisins
for a dried-fruit mix.
I've been buying dried currants rather than drying fresh, but it seems to me
they're pretty tart dried without sugar.  I find, looking through the musty
boxes in my brain, an idea that they can be dried/preserved by stirring them
into sugar.  The currants can be sifted out and used, and the sugar becomes

~ Stephen

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of William C. Garthright
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 7:36 AM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] my currant opinion

> Gooseberries are pleasant but bland, red currants are beautiful but 
> also lacking in aromatics and whites aren't even beautiful and no 
> taste improvement over the reds.  Black currants to my taste buds are 
> so much more complex and interesting than these others they should be 
> considered an entirely different category.
> I realize that this is a minority opinion on this list but apparently 
> not in the rest of the currant producing world where black currants 
> are cultivated much more extensively according to numbers I came up 
> with while searching the web.  I think this says a lot for the 
> culinary potential of the blacks.

I've never tried a black currant (except for the clove currants, which 
are entirely different, I know). But for my own purposes, the culinary 
potential of a fruit is of little interest. I don't cook (well, much 
beyond the 'frying bacon' stage), and I really don't want to start 
making desserts, which is usually the point of fruit.

Of course, I realize that currants in general are probably a bad choice 
for me, then. I planted one red, one white, and one pink currant, just 
to try them out. So far, I'd have to say that was probably a mistake, 
just because of my interests and needs (although I must admit that I 
love the color of the red currants). And my clove currants, as I noted 
before, have been a big disappointment. I kept hearing that they *were* 
good to eat fresh.

The gooseberries have been a little different. Only the Poorman has been 
really tasty (so far), but they're all edible when they get almost ripe 
(I like the little sour bite much more than the bland ripe flavor of 
most of them). And the fact is, they'll grow and produce abundant fruit 
in a place with very little direct sunlight. I can't imagine what else 
would do the same (that would taste better).

Anyway, the black currants do sound interesting,... though they're 
probably not for me. I do like hearing about them, Alan, and I'll have 
to find some black currant items to try sometime.

Lincoln, NE (zone 5)

Even McCain's most blatant confusions, memory lapses and outright lies 
still barely cause a ripple, whether he's railing against a piece of 
pork he in fact voted for, as he did at the Saddleback Church 
pseudodebate last weekend, or falsifying crucial details of his marital 
history in his memoirs, as The Los Angeles Times uncovered in court 
records last month. - Frank Rich
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