TRB TO THE RESCUE: Raisins vs. Currants

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Hey Rescue Baker,
Can I substitute raisins in a recipe that calls for currants? What do you think?
Well, Lara, TRB actually had to look this one up for you, so it’s been a learning experience for both of us!
As it turns out, although they may look similar and are often confused for one another, raisins and currants do not have much in common.

Raisins, as you probably know, are simply dried grapes, which grow on vines. True currants, on the other hand, are not grapes at all. Also known as “sultanas,” currants are (dried) berries – to be precise, a species of the Ribes berry – that grow on bushes. Originally exported from the Greek city of Corinth, the name “currant” was likely the result of an English mistranslation of the French phrase “raisin de Corauntz.” (You can see how the mistake was made, right?)

Real currants were outlawed by the U.S. Congress in 1911, after it was determined they were responsible for an outbreak of white pine blister rust, a fungus responsible for damaging American pine trees, and a significant threat to the logging industry. Due to the ban, Greece began producing small dried grapes, or raisins.

The major difference between the two is that raisins are sweet and are often used in recipes for treats such as oatmeal cookies, rice pudding and scones (just to name a few of TRB‘s favorites!). Currants are tart and, therefore, more suitable for savory dishes.

However, early cookbooks confused the two fruits because of mistranslation, which is why you may see a recipe that really calls for “raisins” list “currants” in its ingredients instead.
In short, when making a sweet treat, stick with raisins; for savory dishes, get yourself some currants. Either way, both fit into TRB‘s newfound quest for *healthy* recipes. Raisins are a great source of phytochemicals, or powerful antioxidants, while currants are rich in vitamin C and bioflavanoids, which help to fight infection and lower blood pressure.
Did you find this helpful? Post a comment.

8 Responses to “TRB TO THE RESCUE: Raisins vs. Currants”

  1. Anonymous

    Thank you Lara for asking the question and thank you Rescue Baker for such an informative and helpful answer.

  2. Lanette

    I cannot seem to find currants. My recipe is an apple strudel. It calls for raisens and currants. Any suggestions?

  3. Anonymous

    Fantastic answer. My aunt and I learned a great deal while making oatmeal this morning!

  4. Anonymous

    Hi TRB, I was aware of all this but is there something omitted? I agree with everything you told me and friend here but I understand there is also a kind of little raisins, call Corinth raising and have nothing to do with currants. They are just about 3mm to 5mm in size, not bigger. They are used in other countries for small pastries, tarts and cakes where the regular raising would be to large.

    I have seen many people confused, as you say, about the names and mostly the looks of these little berries. I love to bake and enjoy the most baking Panetones, Kuchens, and others from EU. I always had trouble to explain about these currants, perhaps since the Market has both packed in the same box.
    Thanks, I enjoyed your article.

  5. ip address

    Dear Lanette, I see you cannot find Currants in the store. May suggest try Kroger or Meijer? Put attention to the label since both are packed (the ones I know) in the same type of box, colors, design, etc. But they say clearly either Currants or Raising, but both are by Sun.Maid and both are sold as “raising”.


  6. load test a website

    Thank you for all of the feedback on this post! I have never heard of “Corinth raisins,” so I appreciate learning something new too. Thank you to Lou for the tip on where to purchase Currants. Happy Holidays to all!


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