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Sun-Maid Zante Currants


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5 replies to this topic

#1 fifi

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 05:32 PM

A few months ago, we had a discussion about possibly being able to grow currants again in the Hudson Valley in New York. It had something to do with the fact that the poor plants had been wrongly accused of harboring some disease many moons ago. There was also some talk of growing them in Calfornia.

Now my sister reports finding a box of Sun-Maid Zante Currants at the store. She hasn't seen these since she was a kid. Does anyone know what these are? Are these some other variety of dried grape that has been misnamed "currants"? The box was no help and neither was the Sun-Maid web site.

And, while we are at it... If all of the raisins are made with Thompson seedless grapes, like the Sun-Maid site implies, how do they get some golden and some regular raisin color?

Rancho_gordo where are you?
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#2 Katherine

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 05:51 PM

The common grapevine of the Old World is Vitis vinifera, and is a native of Central Asia. Another variety is that yielding small seedless grapes commonly called Zante currants.

So it is a grape after all.

I think it's sulfites that keep golden raisins golden.

#3 tsquare

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 05:59 PM

I've bought Zante Currants over the years from natural food stores and, maybe, Trader Joes? I did not know they were ever off the market. But I don't know the country of origin or such.
Dried currents are actually dried Zante grapes!
Golden raisins are oven dried to avoid the darkening effect of sunlight.
Learn something new every day. Thanks for asking.

#4 fifi

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 06:08 PM

Many thanks. It seems that the Zante currants haven't been available here as my sister has looked for them for an old recipe of our mother's and has had to substitute. Now they show up. We don't have Trader Joe's in Texas. Maybe the market for them has been mostly west coast. Who knows.

Ok... So, as I understand it, "real" currants are the berry, Ribes sp. that you can get in the UK and Europe.

Information here.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#5 russ parsons

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 03:56 PM

there's actually a funny story (that may even be true) about how currants got their name (obviously they're not related to the ribes family which produces fresh currants). that is in the old days, produce dealers specialized in raisins from corinth (hard to believe, but before, say the early '20s, raisins were an expensive, imported product). try saying corinth a few times with a new york accent.

#6 dfunghi

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 01:50 PM

Currants are diferent things to diferent cultures. In Europe particulary Northern Europe they tend to be berries. In new world like USA and partly UK they are grapes. Within that I believe the berry are two ( red and black) specifc variety . Many people say that the red Coastal variety of the California / Oregon Huckleberry is very much like the berries of Northern Europe. Very tart! With grapes there is some variation I think. Sometimes I think it is the name of the grape more than the species that varies. Zante, Champagne are two common names for the ( same) grapes used to dry into Currants or at least they are marketed as "fresh" currants. Sort of oxymoron because currants are never fresh always dried. Like saying a Thompson grape is a "fresh " raisin. As to raisins they are made from many, many varieties of grapes. My favorite is (was, thanks to low carb diet) dried Flames no sulfar. By the way it is sulfar or sulfites that affect the color in drying. Add it retains color and stays a little softer without it fruit turns dark and a little harder. Try to avoid things like Sun Maid raisins if you can. Raisins hold alot of residual everything, like pesticides. Try to find Organic even if you are not a big organic food type. Raisins are bad due to the drying. You remove water and concentrate evrything else. Like sugar, which is why we love them.
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David West
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