Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Black Corinth Miniature Grapes


Recommended Posts

I love it when I try an ingredient for the first time and all expectations are exceeded. I had some black mini grapes last night for desert -- wow. These things are very small, as in 1 concord equals 100 corinths. The petite dark cluster on my white plate looked like a small mammal's lung engorged with venous blood. Each tiny fruit was silky purple and loaded with concentrated grape flavor. I felt like a Friendly Giant vampire after his first kill.

Who grows them? What does a mini vineyard look like?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love it when I try an ingredient for the first time and all expectations are exceeded. I had some black mini grapes last night for desert -- wow. These things are very small, as in 1 concord equals 100 corinths. The petite dark cluster on my white plate looked like a small mammal's lung engorged with venous blood. Each tiny fruit was silky purple and loaded with concentrated grape flavor. I felt like a Friendly Giant vampire after his first kill.

Who grows them? What does a mini vineyard look like?

They look like regular grape vines. You know that these are the grapes that currents are made from? "Current" is a contraction of "Raisin of Corinth" (or "Raisins de Corauntz" in Anglo-French).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love it when I try an ingredient for the first time and all expectations are exceeded. I had some black mini grapes last night for desert -- wow. These things are very small, as in 1 concord equals 100 corinths. The petite dark cluster on my white plate looked like a small mammal's lung engorged with venous blood. Each tiny fruit was silky purple and loaded with concentrated grape flavor. I felt like a Friendly Giant vampire after his first kill.

Who grows them? What does a mini vineyard look like?

They look like regular grape vines. You know that these are the grapes that currents are made from? "Current" is a contraction of "Raisin of Corinth" (or "Raisins de Corauntz" in Anglo-French).

The things I don't know could fill a very large container. Are currents the same as currants? I'm familiar with red, black and white currants in preserved jam-like form. Same things?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Currants - the dried fruit - are tiny raisins, almost black in color and rather round in shape. They are made from grapes.

Currants - the fresh fruit, related to gooseberries, are often used for preserves.

Currents - usually refer to water or electricity. :wink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First off, let's not get sidetracked about the word "current," since it has nothing to do with plants or berries. There are three types of currant: red, black and white/yellow. They are related to gooseberries. I had wild red and black currants in my back yard in New Mexico. They were delicious.

According to Wiki, the Black Corinth, also known as the Zante currant, is really not a currant, but a very small variety of grape that originally came from a Greek Island. Currant is, as noted above, a corruption of Corinth, and ended up being applied to the genus Ribes, which is the currant. It sounds like you may have the little black Corinth grapes or Zante Currant, since you say they have vines, so you are accurate in describing them as mini-grapes. They sound yummy! The currants I've had look more like berries on a bush, and don't resemble grapes in the way they grow.

Raisins are dried grapes. Currants can be dried, but they are then called dried currants. I never dried them, just picked them off the bush as soon as they were ripe. I have no idea whether it's common to see any small dried grape varieties labeled as "currants." If I saw something tiny and black and dried labeled "currants" I would assume they were....currants!

Edited by Katie Meadow (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Raisins are dried grapes. Currants can be dried, but they are then called dried currants. I never dried them, just picked them off the bush as soon as they were ripe. I have no idea whether it's common to see any small dried grape varieties labeled as "currants." If I saw something tiny and black and dried labeled "currants" I would assume they were....currants!

From the sun-maid.com website:

"Sun-Maid Natural Zante Currants are sun-dried from the Black Corinth grape, a very special grape grown in only selected vineyards of California."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, that Sun-Maid product should be called DRIED Zante Currants (or dried black corinth grapes) since zante currants are not true currants and since currants are not a dried form of something else. What's in that little box is raisins that are made from what is in fact a type of grape, albeit a very small one. But that would be too confusing, since some Americans may never have had raisins that don't come in a box, and some may not even know that raisins are dried grapes, whether it be thompson seedless, muscats or any other kind of grape.

Edited by Katie Meadow (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the input you all.

Are these little grapes readily available in California?

What do cooks/chefs do with them?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Terribly sorry about the spelling, typying one handed, feeding a baby at 4 AM will do that on occasion.

As it happens that name of the dried grape and the Ribes sp. has been a source of confusion for some time. The true currant is actually the dried grape (Black Corinth/Zante), as the Ribes sp sold as a fresh fruit is actually named after them. An early reference to the Ribes sp is "Bastard Corinthes"

Edited by Adam Balic (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/datastore/datastor...urveynumber=351

The above UC Davis website is the best source I can find for a description of the zante currant, and a chicken & egg opinion of which came first, the currant or the corinth. When it comes to grapes, I would trust this source.

I am going to look carefully in my markets for the next couple of months and see whether any fresh zante currants are available, and how they are labeled.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to all, for the interesting info here. So if I understand correctly, fresh currants are those little red berries for preserves, dried currants are from the Zante or Corinth grapes, but now that fresh Zante grapes have been showing up at markets and people are eating them, everybody's confused. Oh, the uncertain currents of food terminology.

Are these little grapes readily available in California?

What do cooks/chefs do with them?

I've seen Zante grapes around here later in the season, at Whole Foods no less, but I'm sure they're at the farmers mkts too. They are tiny dark grapes. I kind of remember seeing them in Sept or Oct last year. Now that I've read this discussion, I'll have to keep an eye out for them and give them a try.

Alice Waters in her Fruit cookbook says that dried currants are made from Zante/Corinth grapes, sometimes marketed as Champagne grapes (to further confuse the issue). She suggests frosting Zante grapes with sugar.

Judy Rodgers in her Zuni Cafe cookbook has a slew of Zante grape recipes I've never paid close attention to before. There's an apple crostata (or galette) with some Zante grapes--the grapes are scattered over the crostata about 5 mins before the tart is finished baking. Also a piccolo fritto of thinly sliced onions and fennel with Zante grapes, drizzled with saba or balsamic. (Floured and deep-fried grapes? I've never tried that before.) Rodgers suggests serving that piccolo fritto over a frisee salad with pecans, along with duck, squab or quail. (Yum.) Lastly, there's a recipe for brined and spiced Zante grapes, served as a condiment. The spiced grapes can go into a salad of spiced Zante grapes, prosciutto, fennel, and walnuts.

Zante grapes brined and spiced as a condiment. The recipe is here:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn41...6/ai_n16705550/

have fun cooking, Peter & Katie.

ETA: Another idea from the Zuni Cafe cookbook. Toss some Zante grapes into a panful of sauteed chicken livers and onions about a minute before serving. I'll have to try this one. :raz:

Edited by djyee100 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Today I saw a cubic yard of these grapes at my local Frootique. The novelty has now diminished. The boxes are from California and they have the words Zante and Champagne, but not Corinth.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...