fruit currant ground grape
CURRANTS, the dried seedless fruit of a variety of the grape-vine, Vitis vinifera, cultivated principally in Zante, Cephalonia, and Ithaca, and near Patras, in the Morea. Currants were bright originally from Corinth, whence their name ; In the 13th and 14th centuries they were known as raisins. de Corauntz. In the Ionian Islands the currant-vine is grown on the sides of the lower hills, or in' the valleys, the grape-vine occupying the higher and less open and rich ground. Gypseous marls, or calcareous marls containing a little gypsum, are preferred to lime&tone soils, as they allow of the deep penetration of the roots of the vines. The most favourable situations are those where a good supply of water can be obtained for the irrigation of the plantations. This is carried on from the end of October to the close of the year, after which all that is necessary is to keep the ground moist. The vines are planted in rows 3 or 4 feet apart. Propagation is effected by grafting ou stocks of the grape-vine, or by planting out in spring the young vigorous shoots obtained at the end of the previous year from old currant-vines that have been cut away below the ground. The grafts bear fruit in three years, the slips in about double that time. The vine-stock for grafting is cut down to the depth of a foot below the surface of the soil ; two or three perpendicular incisions are made near the bark with a chisel; and into these are inserted shoots of the last year's growth. The engrafted part then receives an applicatie•7. of moist marl, is wrapped in leaves and bound with rushes, and is covered with earth, two or three eyes of the shoots being left projecting above ground. In December the currant plantations are cleared of dead and weak wood. In February the branches are cut back, and pruned of median shoots, which are said to prevent the lateral ones proceeding from the same bud from bearing fruit. In order effectually to water the trees, the earth round about them is in February and March hoed up so as to leave them in a kind of basin, or is piled up against their stems. In May, when the leaves begin to show, the ground is thoroughly turned, and if requisite manured, and is then re-levelled. By the middle of April the leaves are fully out, and in June it is necessary to break back the newly-formed shoots. The fruit begins to ripen in July, and in the next month the vintage takes place. At this season rain is greatly dreaded, as it always damages and may even destroy the ripe fruit. The plantations, which are commonly much exposed, are watched by dogs and armed men. In Cephalonia the currant-grape is said to ripen at least a week earlier than in Zante. To destroy the (Milani, a pest that severely injures the plantations, the vines are dusted, at the time the fruit is maturing, with finely-ground brierstone. The currants when sufficiently ripe are gathered and placed on a drying ground, where they are exposed to the sun in layers half an inch thick ; fieau time to time they are turned and swept into heaps, until they become entirely detached from stalk. They are then packed in large butts for exportation. The wine male from the currant-grape is inferior in quality, but is said to be capable of much improvement. The fresh fruit is luscious and highly flavoured, but soon cloys the palate. In 1831 the duty on currants was made 22s. 2d. per cwt., or one-half what it had previously been ; in 1844 it was reduced to 15s., and in 1860 to 7s. per cwt. In 1871 the imports of currants into the United Kingdom were : - Cwts. Value.
From Austrian territories 6978 8,606 „ Greece 963,358 1,278,974 „ other countries 2,119 2,994 Total 972,455 £1,::90,574 The currants of British kitchen-gardens are the produce of Vibes nigrum and R. rvbru2n, deciduous shrubs of the natural order Grossulariaceee, indigenous to Britain, Northern and Central Europe, Siberia, and Canada The former species bears the black, the latter the red currant. :White currants are the fruit of R. album, a cultivated variety of R. rubrum. Both red and black currants are used for making tarts and pies, jams, jellies, and wane ; the latter are also employed medicinally in lozenges, and in the preparation of a gargle for sore throat, are occasionally preserved in spirits, and in Russia are fermented with honey to produce a strong liquor. The leaves as well as the roots of the black currant have been recommended for their therapeutic virtues. A kind of black currant, bearing poor and acid fruit, is indigenous to Tierra del Fuego. Boyle mentions three Himalayan species of currants ; their fruit he found to contain less saccharine matter than that of their cultivated European congeners