Why Sweeten Dried Currants?
Unfortunately, as much as we, at CurrantC™ would like to offer an all-natural dried currant with a great chewy texture and no sweetener, it’s not technologically possible. You see, while sugar of any kind is used to make things sweet, it also acts as a preservative. Dried Black Currants have no problems with bacteria because of their natural low pH but as with all fruits and berries, they are susceptible to mold so they need a preservative when dried to a chewy texture.
The four main choices of preservatives are salt, which doesn’t work flavor wise, smoke, same answer, artificial preservative, which we would never use or some type of sugar. Most fruits are naturally sweet and high enough in fructose to do the job which is why you can have raisins (dried grapes), dried figs, dried apricots, dried mangos, etc. without any “added” sugar. Currants on the other hand are very tart because they are extremely low in fructose and in the absence of one of the “added” sugars, one would have to dry all the moisture out of them to the consistency of a hard, un-chewable peppercorn to prevent mold. Cranberries, which are also very tart and low in fructose, have the same issue hence, you never see dried cranberries (Craisins) without added sweeteners.
So you see, “dried, as-harvested, currants” in the delicious chewy form that everyone loves, is just not possible. We have chosen to use grape juice to keep the product 100% fruit and it’s less objectionable than processed white sugar.
Be aware of “real dried currants” without added sweetener. For the reasons explained above, if the product is called “currant” or “Zante currant” or “Real currant”, Zante black currant or some variation thereof, and states no added sugar or no added sweetener, it has to be using it’s own natural fructose which means it’s not a currant but most likely a dried grape (raisin). Since CurrantC™ introduced genuine currants to the U.S. with all their health benefits, many companies have begun to ride the wave and are intentionally mislabeling their small raisins as currants.