First, the truth about currants: Most products called currants are raisins, in a botanical family unrelated in any way to the current, except at the highest, Kingdom, level (*detail addicts, see the footnote at the bottom of this article).
As for why real currants were banned from America for 82 years, read the story, a tale of government lobbyists and legislators. They were brought back, legally, in 2003. Given the limited crops and distributions, most living Americans have never had real currents—at least, not in the U.S. Zante currants are raisins.
So, how about a healthy Valentine’s Day gift of currants?
A high-antioxidant Valentine gift. Photo
Real black currants are packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium and omega-3s. They have been shown to prevent liver cancer and are currently being studied as prophylactics against Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, kidney stones, urinary track infections and vision disorders (more information). When promising tests conclude, the run on black currants and currant juice may be bigger than that on green tea.
CurrantC, a pioneer in growing currants following the lifting of the ban in 2003, has several gift items in addition to conventionally packaged juice and dried and frozen currants. Gifts are available from $13.99 to $47.99; the deluxe gift basket shown in the photo, includes:
CurrantC All Natural Black Currant Nectar
CurrantC All Natural Black Currant Syrup, to use instead of maple syrup
CurrantC Genuine Dried Black Currants, a delicious snack and topping for oatmeal, yogurt and in baked goods
CurrantC Dark Chocolate/Black Currant bar with pine nuts
CurrantC Red Currant Candle, made with clean-burning soy wax
We highly recommend the currant concentrate, which mixes up into a delicious juice.
*They’re not even distant cousins!
Raisins: Kingdom Plantae, Division Magnoliophyta, Class Magnoliopsida, Subclass Rosidae, Order Vitales, Family Vitaceae, Genus Vitis.
Currants: Kingdom Plantae, Division Angiosperms, Class Eudicots, Subclass Core eudicots, Order Saxifragales, Family Grossulariaceae, Genus Ribes.