11 Fresh and Dried Currant Substitutes for Desserts and Savory Dishes

Currants are small, dark-colored berries with sweet and sour flavor. Fresh currants are basically used in pies, tarts, puddings and fruit salads like other berries. You can also make refreshing compotes and drinks. 

Dried currants, on the other hand, are used not only in sweets like jellies but also in savory dishes including pilafs and poultry dishes. 

There are several good currant substitutes for you to try in case you have neither fresh nor dried currants or look for something more easily digestive. 

The best substitutes are dried currants, gooseberries, cranberries, raisins, cherries, jujubes, dried dates, fortunella japonica, prunes and blueberries. 

Best Currant Substitutes To Try

1. Dried Currants

If fresh currants are missing from your table, then use dried ones. Dried currants carry the same nutrients and vitamins as fresh ones and they offer a sweet and tangy taste similar to fresh ones.

You can use them both in sweet and savory recipes to add a pop of color and some sour and sweet taste. 

Dried curries perfectly go with gingerbread cookies and serve as tiny dressings for other desserts. You can add them to pilafs, chicken and turkey dishes, breakfast dishes and poridges. It works well with nuts and seeds too. 

2. Gooseberries

Gooseberries, related to the same family as currants, are other alternatives to use in your dishes. These are larger varieties of berries in green or dark red colors. Green gooseberries have a sour taste, while red ones are more of a sweeter side. 

Depending on your preferences and recipe you can choose either green or red versions. They will enhance the flavor of your dish making it slightly sour-to-sweet just like currants. 

3. Cranberries

As for cranberries, they are perfect substitutes for currants especially in currant jelly. Thanks to their health benefits, cranberries are known as great superfoods. 

They are bright red berries and taste like lemons, providing you with excellent compote ideas and refreshing drinks. You can use them in savory dishes, sauces and of course pastries, to add that sour touch of currants. 

4. Raisins

Raisins are an easy alternative to currants for a number of dishes. They can be used to replace it in pies, tarts, cakes, cookies and other sweets. 

You can add raisins in your rice pilaf and it will taste more than just delicious. The sweet-sour taste of raisins breaks the neutral taste of pilafs making them more appealing. 

Depending on the type of grapes they are made of, raisins come in a variety of colors. You can even mix several types to add a brighter touch to meals. 

5. Cherries

Those juicy and sour fruits go well with different cookies, cakes and pies. If you have tried it once in your pastry dishes, then you know how rich and unique it makes them. 

It adds a vibrant red color, makes the dish taste acidic yet pleasant to the tongue and goes well with many recipes calling for currants. 

You can use cherries instead of currants in baked goods and desserts. If you have ever tried the “Black Forest” or “Drunken Cherry” cakes then you know how it tastes in cakes. 

You can also refer to dried cherries when baking or thinking of good topping ideas for desserts. Just make sure to use coreless cherries. 

7. Dried Dates

Dried dates are the sun-dried or dehydrated fruits of date palm trees native to Egypt and the Middle East. They are sweet when fresh and become even sweeter when dried. You can use these in place of currants in jams, sweet dishes, desserts, candies and baked goods. 

Dried dates taste perfect in sweet sauces too. They have many health benefits and are often used as a natural sweetener. 

8. Jujubes (Chinese Dates)

Jujubes, also known as Chinese dates, are widely used for medical purposes and are known as one of the healthiest berry-like fruits. Jujubes have a mild-sweet tart flavor similar to currants. 

Although they are larger in size just like other dates, you can still use them in jams, sauces, desserts, pies, tarts and cakes to keep that fresh flavor in the dish. 

9. Fortunella Japonica (Kumquat)

Have you ever tasted kumquat? This fruit, also called fortunella japonica, originates from Asian countries. It is a yellow-orange citrus fruit with a sweet and aromatic flavor similar to oranges. 

Let’s say, these are tiny oranges with a subtle peel, which is removed before eating. Due to its citrusy notes, kumquat adds a fresh touch to fruit salads and baked goods. 

10. Prunes

Prunes are dried plums known as one of the healthiest dried fruits one should definitely have in their pantry. Both the fresh and dried plum fruit is widely used in sweet dishes, desserts, baked goods, meat sauces and savory dishes. 

Thanks to its sweet-to-sour combination of flavors it can be used to replace currants. This fruit also comes with the same color as currants and can be a good replacer as a dressing too. 

You can use prunes in currant jelly, baked goods, breakfast oatmeal, pilafs, drinks and smoothies as well as add to salads for a pop of color and a richer taste. 

It’s better to use coreless prunes especially if you decide to grind it or add it to baked goods and smoothies. It helps to moderate digestion.

11. Blueberries

Although blueberries hold a kind floral touch in their taste, they still taste like berries with sweet and sour flavor. You can use blueberries in many dishes from pies to puddings and from oatmeals to ice-creams. 

It has a pleasant blue color which will definitely be reflected in your dish. Not fully ripe blueberries taste like fresh currants. As for dried blueberries, they can be used to substitute dried black currants. 

You can also use blueberries instead of black currants in sauces and savory dishes.  Use them in a 1:1 ratio. 

FAQs on Currant

Are currants bad for dogs?

Currants, raisins, sultanas and grapes are all potentially poisonous to dogs. If dogs eat those fruits it can lead to kidney failure and gut problems. 

Is currant good for diabetics?

Black currants come with high levels of manganese, which is one of the most important minerals to control blood sugar level. 

Manganese helps to regulate proper insulin secretion and level of blood sugar among people with type 2 diabetes.

Black currant vs red currant: which is better? 

Both black and red currants come with good qualities. While red currants are great for eating with their sweet-tart flavor, black currants are larger in size and have a deeper and more complex flavor. 

Summary

Overall berries are usually used interchangeably as they have similar qualities and flavors. You can use currants the same way as blueberries, raspberries and other berries in pies, tarts, drinks and desserts and vice versa. 

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