A currant is a small, tart berry related to a gooseberry. Black, pink, red and white varieties of currants grow on small bushes in grapelike clusters. Red currants, in particular, have an intense, brilliant colour. Although cooks make jelly from both black and red currants, red currant jelly is much more common. It's used in sauces, baked goods, salads and more. When red currant jelly isn't available, reach for one of several suitable substitutes.
The website Cook's Thesaurus recommends two different grape jellies as substitutes for red currant jelly. One is "regular" grape jelly, which is easily found in grocery stores, already on most people's pantry shelves and made from concord grapes. The other is the less common muscadine grape jelly. Although muscadine grapes are fine for eating fresh off the vine, according to the Louisiana State Ag Center, they're more often made into jelly because they have a tough skin. Both concord and muscadine grape jellies are sweet rather than tart.
Good Housekeeping says to substitute apply jelly in their tomato and melon salad recipe, but Cook's Thesaurus goes one step further. They suggest you mix three parts apple jelly and one part lemon juice to make a tart substitute for red currant jelly.
However, when both flavour and colour matter, sometimes the best substitute for red currant jelly is not another jelly. Woman's Day recommends substituting cranberry sauce for red currant jelly when making a glaze for roast lamb.
- California Rare Fruit Growers: Fruit Facts: Currants
- The Cook's Thesaurus: Preserves & Fruit Butters
- Woman's Day: Redcurrant Jelly
- Good Housekeeping: Tomato and Melon Salad
- National Gardening Association: Of Muscadines and Scuppernongs
- The Louisiana University Ag Center: The Tasty Muscadine, Grape of the South