Currants are red, white or black berries that look like clusters of mini grapes. Rather tart and sour -- similar to a cranberry, but sweeter -- the red variety is most often used in jams and jellies. White currants are at their prime when almost translucent, and are slightly sweeter than red varieties. The black currant, which offers the sweetest taste of them all, but with an earthy flavor, is used to make the French liqueur, cassis.
Cooking With Currants
Mix red or white currants with other berries to fill a pie, cobbler or tart. Black currants can be combined with other berries in other kinds of desserts or used to make syrups, jams or candy. Stir currants into muffin or quick bread batters, puree them into an ice cream or sorbet base, or eat them freshly picked for a refreshing, but acidic, taste treat. The acidity of red and black currants complements savory dishes as well. Crush them into a vinaigrette or use them to create a sauce for rich meats, such as lamb or duck. The classic British Cumberland sauce combines red currants with port wine, orange, ginger and vinegar.