Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Currant, the sun-dried fruit of a small-fruited variety of the grape (Vitis vinifera, var. corinthiaca), grown chiefly in Greece and the Ionian Isles, where it seldom forms any seed. It takes its name from Corinth; but the kinds now distinguished in commerce are Vostitza, Patras, Gulf, Cephalonia, and Zante. The entire crop in 1888 was 160,000 tons; that in 1890,145,000 tons, whilst Britain's imports rose in the latter year to 57,000 tons, a great increase on previous amounts, owing to the reduction of the customs duty to 2s. per cwt, The name currant has been extended to the totally different fruits of Ribes nigrum and R, rubrum, small shrubs native to Britain and northern temperate or sub-arctic regions generally, and belonging to a small order related to the saxifrages. They bear pendulous racemes of greenish perigynous flowers, and the fruit is a true berry surmounted by the withered calyx. Garden varieties of R. rubrum, the red currant, bear white or pale amber fruit. Both red and black currants are used for tarts, jams, jellies, and wines; black currant being also valuable as a gargle or in lozenges for sore throat.