currant

/kerr"euhnt, kur"-/, n.
1. a small seedless raisin, produced chiefly in California and in the Levant, and used in cookery and confectionery.
2. the small, edible, acid, round fruit or berry of certain wild or cultivated shrubs of the genus Ribes.
3. the shrub itself.
4. any of various similar fruits or shrubs.
[1300-50; shortened from ME raysons of Coraunte raisins of CORINTH, the port in Greece from which they orig. came]

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Any shrub of at least 100 species in the genus Ribes, in the gooseberry family, native to temperate climates of the Northern Hemisphere and western South America.

The Rocky Mountains are especially rich in species. The flavorful, juicy red or black berries are used chiefly in jams and jellies. Black currants are used in lozenges and for flavoring, and are occasionally fermented. Currants are extremely high in vitamin C and also supply calcium, phosphorus, and iron. The name currant is also given to a seedless raisin frequently used in cooking.

Currant (Ribes)

Walter Chandoha

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shrub
 shrub of the genus Ribes of the gooseberry family (Grossulariaceae), the piquant, juicy berries of which are used chiefly in jams and jellies. There are at least 100 species, natives of temperate climates of the Northern Hemisphere and of western South America. The Rocky Mountains in North America are especially rich in species.

      The currant seems first to have been cultivated sometime before 1600 in the Netherlands, Denmark, and elsewhere around the Baltic Sea. Bushes were taken to settlements in America early in the 17th century; most American varieties, however, originated there. Both red and black currants are used for making tarts, pies, jams, and jellies. Black currants are used in lozenges, for flavouring, and are occasionally fermented. Currants are extremely high in vitamin C and also supply calcium, phosphorus, and iron. Great Britain grows more black currants than any other country.

      Currants flourish in cool, moist, northern climates. Clay and silt soils are best. They are propagated by cuttings 200–300 millimetres (8–12 inches) long, usually taken in the autumn and set in the nursery immediately or in spring, 75 to 150 mm apart, with not more than two buds above ground. In the plantation, they are set 1.2–1.5 metres (4–5 feet) apart in rows 1.8–2.4 m distant. Under intensive cropping, currants are planted under grapes, peaches, cherries, and pears because they stand shade very well.

      Currants and gooseberries are the chief agencies in the spread of the white-pine blister rust, a destructive disease of the five-leaved pines in Europe and America. The common garden black currant is the favourite host of the blister rust. Because the white pine is a very valuable timber there, the black currant has been declared a menace and is not grown in the northwestern United States; culture of currants and gooseberries has actually been prohibited in some areas.

      The name currant is also applied to a seedless raisin (q.v.) frequently used in cooking.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Currant — may refer to: Plants Ribes, genus of berry plants, e.g. blackcurrant, redcurrant Zante currant, dried Black Corinth grapes; smaller than raisins Currant tomato, Solanum pimpinellifolium, small tomato species Currant tree, Amelanchier canadensis,… …   Wikipedia

  • Currant — Cur rant (k?r rant), n. [F. corinthe (raisins de Corinthe raisins of Corinth) currant (in sense 1), from the city of Corinth in Greece, whence, probably, the small dried grape (1) was first imported, the Ribes fruit (2) receiving the name from… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • currant — (n.) c.1500, from raysyn of Curans (mid 14c.) raisins of Corinth, with the s mistaken for a plural inflection. From Anglo Fr. reisin de Corauntz. The small, seedless raisins were exported from southern Greece. Then in 1570s the word was applied… …   Etymology dictionary

  • currant — ► NOUN 1) a dried fruit made from a small seedless variety of grape. 2) a shrub producing small edible black, red, or white berries. ORIGIN from Old French raisins de Corauntz grapes of Corinth (the original source) …   English terms dictionary

  • currant — [kʉr′ənt] n. [ME corauns < (reisins of) Coraunce < Anglo Fr ( raisins de) Corauntz, (raisins of) Corinth: orig. imported from Corinth] 1. the raisin of a small, seedless grape (a cultivar of Vitis vinifera) grown in the Mediterranean region …   English World dictionary

  • currant — UK [ˈkʌrənt] / US noun [countable] Word forms currant : singular currant plural currants 1) a small dark dried fruit often used in cakes a currant bun 2) a small round fruit that may be red, black, or white, and grows on a currant bush currant… …   English dictionary

  • currant — [14] Etymologically, currants are grapes from ‘Corinth’. In the Middle Ages Corinth, in Greece, exported small dried grapes of current 146 particularly high quality, which became known in Old French as raisins de Corinthe ‘grapes of Corinth’.… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • currant — [14] Etymologically, currants are grapes from ‘Corinth’. In the Middle Ages Corinth, in Greece, exported small dried grapes of particularly high quality, which became known in Old French as raisins de Corinthe ‘grapes of Corinth’. This phrase… …   Word origins

  • currant — n. 1 a dried fruit of a small seedless variety of grape grown in the Levant and much used in cookery. 2 a any of various shrubs of the genus Ribes producing red, white, or black berries. b a berry of these shrubs. Phrases and idioms: flowering… …   Useful english dictionary

  • currant — noun Currant is used before these nouns: ↑bun, ↑jelly …   Collocations dictionary

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