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Where have all the currants gone? Can't find them anywhere.

jmcarthur8 Nov 27, 2012 02:31 PM

Today, I'm making a few of Alton Brown's Free Range Fruitcakes for Christmas desserts. I went to three grocery stores and one local 'whole foods' type market, and none of them had dried currants. Was there a crop failure, or does no one buy them in my area anymore? Do you find them at your local supermarkets? They used to be with the raisins, but nary a tag on a shelf did I find.

When I got home, I looked online to see where to order some, and really don't know the best place to get them at the best price.
Meanwhile, I subbed out more of the other dried fruits instead of the currants. For my next batch, I'd like to use the currants, though, if I can find any.
Any recommendations?

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  1. RUK RE: jmcarthur8 Nov 27, 2012 02:53 PM

    I couldn't find them either this year, so I simply used several different types of raisins. Worked out ok.

    1. j
      Just Visiting RE: jmcarthur8 Nov 27, 2012 03:02 PM

      I just bought some at Whole Foods in the DC area in the bulk food aisle. They weren't in the bulk bins; they were in the dried fruit in clamshell packages section.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Just Visiting
        coll RE: Just Visiting Nov 28, 2012 08:05 AM

        I have only found them at Fairway here (never looked at Whole Foods, but they don't have at Trader Joes). There, they also come in generous sized clamshells. I have never found them in a regular grocery store, ever.

      2. drongo RE: jmcarthur8 Nov 28, 2012 08:04 AM

        I can only find "Zante currants" which are not really currants at all but a type of raisin.

        8 Replies
        1. re: drongo
          Becca Porter RE: drongo Nov 28, 2012 08:21 AM

          I think the Zante currants are what most recipes are referring to.

          1. re: drongo
            melpy RE: drongo Nov 28, 2012 08:33 AM

            This is what I use for all my currant recipes.

            1. re: drongo
              Just Visiting RE: drongo Nov 28, 2012 11:16 AM

              That's true - that is in fact what I bought, not the berries from which currant jams are made.

              Here is something I did not know about black currants: http://www.currantc.com/

              Also happens to be a place to buy them.

              1. re: Just Visiting
                littlemartin RE: Just Visiting Sep 17, 2013 07:34 PM

                I would just like to add that I grew up in the U.K. eating black currant jam. Black currant bushes are in many gardens and grow wild too. Now that I'm in the U.S. I needed ingredients for a fruit cake. After calling my mother she explained that the "currants" she uses are imported and expensive. Clearly not the same thing as black currants then.
                It would appear that recipes calling for currants then refer to mini black seedless grapes (zante currants) and NOT black currants.

                According to the currantc website:

                "Since the growing of the real currants had been banned for many years in the U.S. and few Americans knew what real Currants were any more, the name stuck and we now have 80+ years of cookbooks telling us to put a half a cup of Zante currants, or more commonly the abbreviated "currants," in our scones and soda bread when what they really mean is the special seedless, mini-raisin made from black Corinthian grapes."

              2. re: drongo
                jmcarthur8 RE: drongo Nov 28, 2012 11:41 AM

                dronge, the Zante currants are what I am looking for! I didn't realize that the fresh ones are a different species till after I'd posted my question. For this fruitcake, the teeny tiny raisins are perfect.

                Sunmaid Zante currants used to be by the raisins at all our local grocery stores, and now it's like they've just disappeared from the face of the earth.
                There are some WF stores in Atlanta, and we'll be heading over there a few times in the next week or two, so I'll make a point to stop at one of those stores. I guess I'll just load up on them, because I've been jonesing for some currant scones lately, too.

                1. re: jmcarthur8
                  Karl S RE: jmcarthur8 Nov 28, 2012 03:08 PM

                  Our markets still carry them in the Boston area, so they must be a depression-era victim of inventory-reductions in your area of Things That Don't Move Enough to Justify Taking Up Space. Has happened to lotsa things over the past 4 years...

                  1. re: Karl S
                    jmcarthur8 RE: Karl S Nov 28, 2012 08:25 PM

                    That's been my suspicion ...

                    1. re: Karl S
                      sr44 RE: Karl S Nov 28, 2012 08:49 PM

                      And Muscat raisins? My grandmother will be rolling in her grave if they aren't available.

                2. Veggo RE: jmcarthur8 Nov 28, 2012 08:18 AM

                  Are currants a commercial crop? I have never seen them in markets. In my youth, we picked wild currants and my mother boiled and strained them with sugar and made a refreshing drink with club soda. Nice memory.
                  I guess currants aren't current.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Veggo
                    Harters RE: Veggo Nov 28, 2012 08:52 AM

                    Certainly a commercial crop - our local supermarkets always have currants, raisins and sultanas.

                    1. re: Harters
                      Veggo RE: Harters Nov 28, 2012 09:09 AM

                      I had to Google sultanas. Your side of the pond has more varieties of small fruit than mine has.

                      1. re: Harters
                        sr44 RE: Harters Nov 28, 2012 08:50 PM

                        Maybe a black market ring in fruitcake supplies?

                    2. Jetgirly RE: jmcarthur8 Nov 28, 2012 08:15 PM

                      I just bought some for a salad and found them at the first place I looked- my local independent health food store. Bulk.

                      1. jmcarthur8 RE: jmcarthur8 Nov 30, 2012 01:22 AM

                        I was so happy to finally find Zante currants at a local grocery store. It was the one supermarket that caters very much to the Latino trade, but is a standard American grocery store.

                        I bought two boxes. There were only two more boxes left on the shelf, so it still left me wondering if they are running out of stock, or if they are really popular with the clientele at that store.

                        1. s
                          sunnyskies12 RE: jmcarthur8 Feb 18, 2013 10:23 PM

                          They have what American's consider currants at Amazon (Sunmaid's Zante Currants or Bob's Red Mill Black Currants - which are also sold at bobsredmill.com). My Vons & Albertsons sell Sunmaid Zante Currants year round.

                          And they have real black currants here: http://www.currantc.com/index.php?sub...

                          The link takes you to their story, which explains why there were no genuine currants in the US until recently, and if you navigate around you can see where to buy them on their website.

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