Today I picked red currents from Kelder's Farm in Accord, New York. Their fruit is not organic, but is low-spray and beautiful. They are some of the nicest people you will come across, and their farm is beautiful without being fancy or "fussy". This is not Martha Stewart's made-over version of a farm--you know you're on a farm, and I can't help but admire and love the wild flowers growing amidst the berry bushes accompanied by the frog pond symphony of ribbits as hawks soar overhead. Ah, the country. And they have goats, Walter the Donkey, some pot-bellied pigs, and a giant 80 foot gnome!
Red currants are a wonderful fruit, and make a terrific tart jelly that is great on toast, a tart glaze, or with meats. The famous Bar-le-duc jam (akin to caviar) from France goes for $40 a jar and was enjoyed by Mary Queen of Scots. They grow in grape-like clusters on bushes, hanging ruby red under a canopy of leaves. Native to Europe and related to the gooseberry, the fruit has become rare in the United States. Red currants are just starting to be cultivated again after being uprooted in the early 1900s when they were mistakenly thought to promote a tree disease.
Currants are extremely good for you (move over, hipster goji berries), and are high in vitamin C, B1, iron, fruit acids, and fiber. They have many medicinal properties as well, including fever-reducing, sweat-inducing, menstrual-flow inducing, mildly laxative, astringent, appetite increasing, diuretic and digestive properties. Wow.
Look for Anarchy's miracle-cure Red Currant Jelly coming soon.