Dried currants are actually a type of grape called Zante. This dried fruit is typically used as a healthy snack, toppings for oatmeal, cereals, baked pastries, and even as stuffing as well. It’s really sweet and decadent perfect for desserts and other dishes.
The best substitutes for currants are regular raisins, dried dates, dried prunes, dried cherries, cranberries, and jujube.
Substitutes for Currants
Let’s get to know all these substitutes and how we can replace them in dishes that require currant.
Raisins are like the cousin of currants. Both came from grapes, processed, and dried for better shelf life. There are different types of raisins made from all kinds of grapes. So you’ll notice them in different colors like green, yellow, red, dark purple and so much more.
Readily available in grocery stores for immediate use. I highly recommend picking the organic ones since they don’t have traces of pesticides.
Just like currants, raisins are a perfect ingredient for breakfast classics like cereal, oatmeal, and even toast. For baking, it’s best paired with walnut cake and banana muffins. It’s also perfect to be eaten by itself as a healthy snack especially for maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.
2. Dried Dates
Dates were first cultivated in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The fruit has been long impressing notable Pharaohs and Kings. No wonder, up to this day it’s still a fruit worth a try for its sweet taste. Although it’s grown mostly in the middle east, you can now find dried ones in most grocery stores worldwide.
Dates are a perfect natural sweetener just like honey. If you like making jams with currants, try using dates instead. It will have a much more unique and sweet-smelling aroma. Other than that, dates are a perfect filling for desserts such as pies, stuffed pastries, and cakes. It’s tasty but also a healthier alternative due to its numerous health benefits.
3. Dried Prunes
Prunes are like the doppelganger of dates especially when dried. But it’s actual form looks more like cherries called plums. This fruit is widely known around Europe because of its diversity in the kitchen. Not only that, but this super fruit is very rich in Vitamin K, B, and sorbitol that acts like fiber to improve the digestive tract.
If you’d like to try out a unique substitute for currant jelly, try out the stewed prunes. It’s really tasty and sweet, perfect for toppings on bread, yogurt, icecreams, and baked dishes. I also tried stuffing those on one of my bread recipes and it turned out really good. Just like most of the substitutes listed, prunes are also best eaten by itself whether it’s dried or not.
4. Dried Cherries
These cute little round fruit cherries are one of the most common ingredients for baking and desserts. Some find it pleasant while others just don’t. Especially when you try the authentic black forest cake in Germany that features, of course, the wonderful cherries.
Cherries can totally substitute currants as well due to its wide uses, especially in baking. Although the physical appearance might be too bright red, the taste doesn’t go too far from currants.
The next time you stock up for jams, use the cherries and save the rest as toppings for desserts like cakes and icecreams. You can also make cereal bars, muffins, and puffed pastries by using cherries as a filling.
Cranberries almost resemble currants in a way when it’s not dried. But cranberries are one of the healthiest substitutes you can use for currants. It’s super low in calories, sugar, and carbohydrates but it’s packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants which your body needs.
If you’re highly obsessed with currant jelly, your best bet is to substitute it with cranberries. This fruit offers the same taste, smell, and consistency when made into a jelly. You can’t even tell the difference that much, maybe except for how vibrant the color is.
Cranberries are good for fillings in cakes, pies, refrigerated cakes, and even used for savory sauces. It’s worth making a switch with this one for its limitless benefits.
Jujube or also known as the Chinese date might be a little unfamiliar for some of you. This type of fruit is widely grown in China, however, other species similar to this are also grown in the Mediterranean and African regions. Although it’s uncommon for some, you can easily find this fruit in most Chinese stores especially if your town has a huge China Town.
Jujube resembles the taste of an apple, but unlike currants, it’s not as juicy when you bite the flesh. That’s the reason why it’s best to use it when dry. Try using jujube as a pastry topping like muffins, cookies, and bread.
You can also make a jam out of it to substitute currant jellies for winter. When stewed for a long time, it breaks down really well which is also perfect as a dessert filling and even toppings for soups.
My Personal Pick
When substituting currant as a topping for baked pastries, I like using raisins instead. I just admire how it’s readily available anywhere and I myself even keep a stock in the pantry. It’s so common that it’s too impossible to run out. It’s very flexible in kitchen use, the kids like eating it with cereal for breakfast and even include it as an afternoon snack.
For making jellies to substitute currants, I highly recommend using cranberries. Like what I said earlier, cranberries when cooked for a long time and added with honey or crystal sugar can make a really good jelly. Since the fruit is already sweet of its own, there are times I don’t really need to add more sugar. Especially when it’s very ripe when picked.
But whatever your choice is from the 6 substitutes we’ve listed, rest assured those can perfectly substitute currants for most dishes. Learn to experiment and tweak some of the ingredients.