(For Garden Currants - Black, Bed and White - See Fruits).

The dried Currants which are put into mince pies, cakes, and puddings are small grapes grown originally at Zante, near Corinth, and hence named Corinthians; then they became Corantes, and eventually Currants. Presently the name of Currants was transferred in the Epirus to certain small fruits of the gooseberry order which closely resembled the grapes of Zante, but were identical rather, with the fruit Currants growing on bushes in our kitchen gardens. The grocers' Currants of to-day come from the Morea, being small grapes-dried in the sun, and put in heaps to cake together; then they are dug out with a crowbar, and trodden into casks for exportation. Our national plum pudding cannot be properly made without including a good proportion of these Currants. Former cooks, as we learn from a poet of the middle ages:

"Buttered currants on fat veal bestowed, And rumps of beef with virgin honey strewed".

In Manchester sandwiches made with these Currants, and known as Eccles Cakes, are very popular. When Alice (in Wonderland) had dwindled down alarmingly to a diminutive stature, she found a little glass box lying under the table of the Rabbits' hole Hall, and containing a very small cake, on which the words "Eat me" were beautifully marked in Currants. She ate a little bit, and then said anxiously to herself, "Which way? which way?" "Curioser, and curioser," cried Alice; "now I'm opening out like the largest telescope that ever was".

The Small Corinthian Raisins, Or "Currants"

The Small Corinthian Raisins, Or "Currants", were formerly known as "Passulae Minores"; they have a vinous odour, and a sweet, acidulous taste; the pulp is demulcent, but the skin is hard, wrinkled, and seldom completely digested. In a certain large lunatic asylum, where the patients partook commonly of Currant buns, the tough fruit skins, almost unchanged by any digestive process, were found by the bushel at the bottom of the washing-tub in which the dirty linen had been put to soak. "Eleven million bacteria," says a German scientist, "inhabit the skins of every half pound of Currants. It would be no small job to remove the skin from each Currant in accordance with the latest recommendation of science, but much better to work half a day over a saucerful than be dead the rest of one's life! Similarly, too, by the time Tomatoes are peeled to get rid of the surface bacteria, and seeded to avoid the danger of appendicitis, there won't be much left, to be sure; but then what remains will at least be healthful."From these Currants a sweet, oily kind of wine is made in Greece.