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currant

Pronunciation: [KUR-uhnt]

There are two distinctly different fruits called currant. 1. The first—resembling a tiny, dark raisin—is the seedless, dried Zante grape ( champagne grapes). Its name comes from its place of origin—the island of Zante, off the coast of Greece. In cooking, this type of currant (like raisins) is used mainly in baked goods. 2. The second type of currant is a tiny berry related to the gooseberry. There are black, red and white currants. The black ones are generally used for preserves, syrups and liqueurs (such as cassis), while the red and white berries are good for out-of-hand eating and such preparations as the famous French preserve bar-le-duc and (using the red currants) cumberland sauce. Fresh currants are in season June through August. Choose those that are plump and without hulls. They can be refrigerated, tightly covered, up to 4 days. Currants are delicious in jams, jellies, sauces and simply served with sugar and cream.