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All About Currants

All About Currants

There are some 150 varieties of currants in the world; the biggest producers are Germany, Poland and Russia. Though cultivation started in North America toward the end of the 19th century, the currant was colonized by a mushroom that destroyed millions of plants, and crops have diminished considerably since.


Currant varieties are categorized in two main families: the red currant and the gooseberry.

The red currant, called the gadelle in Quebec, is originally from Northern Europe and Asia and includes most currant species. The berries are round and either pale white and sweet, or red and slightly sour.

What About The Gooseberry?

Contrary to the red currant that grows in clusters, the gooseberry grows independently on a shrub. It can be yellow, green, white or red, depending on the variety, and often leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste.


Culinary tips and advice

  • Choose firm, intact fruit with a deep colour.
  • Clean fruit with care and remove stems before serving.
  • The red currant is mostly used in puddings, pastries and pies.
  • The gooseberry can be eaten plain or cooked.
  • Currants pleasantly complement a wine sauce to accompany game meats.
  • For a refreshing drink, blend 200 grams (6.4 ounces) of currants with 375 ml (1 cup) of water and sugar to taste. Strain the puree over a bowl and serve with carbonated water, or make it a cocktail by adding an ounce of vodka or gin.

Expert tip

For marmalades and jellies, choose fruit that is not completely ripe; its concentration of pectin is higher, so the marmalade or jelly will set better.


Availability

Currants are available for a few weeks in July.

Nutritional value

Currants are rich in vitamin C and potassium. They provide iron, magnesium, and traces of phosphorus, calcium and sodium.

Storage

Currants will keep for a few days in the fruit drawer of your refrigerator. Crushed currants can be frozen with or without sugar. If adding sugar, make sure it has completely dissolved before freezing.



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