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What: You’ve likely only encountered currants in preserved forms, either dried or cooked down into a jam. That’s a shame, because fresh, the translucent-skinned, tart globes are decadent.
How to buy: Currants are in season through early July. Red and blue varieties are available from Reid’s Orchard, at the 14th and U streets and Mount Pleasant farmers markets for $5 per half-pint. Kuhn Orchard, at 14th and U, stocks a white variety, as well.
How to cook: “You could make a pie, but that would be one expensive pie,” says Jenna Huntsberger of Whisked! Bakery, which sells pies with local, seasonal ingredients at the 14th and U market and for pick-up at locations throughout the city. Another option, Huntsberger says, is to cook down currants with sugar and serve them with ice cream. To prepare, simmer the berries over low heat with a tablespoon of sugar and water until their skins begin to pucker and crack.
Robin Shuster, who runs the 14th and U and Bloomingdale markets, also recommends red currants as a surprise salad ingredient. (The blue is muskier, with less bite.) I added red currants to a salad with blanched green beans and ricotta and served it as a side to grilled sausages and onions.
Photo by Phoebe Connelly