Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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currants the fresh fruits which may be red, white, or black, have nothing to do with currants in the other sense (see raisins, sultanas, and currants), but belong to a separate genus of plants, Ribes, which also includes gooseberries. They are small, round berries which often retain, at the end opposite the stem, withered remnants of the flower from which they grew.

Wild currants, both red and black, grow worldwide in northern temperate regions. Cultivated species are virtually all derived from European and Asian types. Native American currants were used by Indian tribes, especially for making pemmican (preserved dried meat, fat, and fruit), but one of them, R. aureum, the golden currant, is so good that cultivars of it have been developed by a process of selection.