Farmers harvest bright, glossy red currants off bushes when they are ripe, then rush them to market while they're still fresh. Cooks use red currants in a variety of dishes. As ingredients, red currants are as nutritious as they are versatile -- fat-free, low-calorie and packed with vitamin C.
Calories, Fat and Cholesterol
If you're careful about your intake of fat, cholesterol or calories, red currants are a healthy choice. A 56-g serving -- about 2 oz. -- contains only 30 calories, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation. Red currants are also fat- and cholesterol-free.
Carbohydrate, Fiber and Protein
A 56-g serving of red currants has 8 g of carbohydrate -- 3 percent of your recommended daily value. Of these 8 g, 4 g are sugars and 2 g are dietary fiber. Just one serving of red currants gives you 8 percent of your recommended daily value of dietary fiber. A serving of this fruit also contains 1 g of protein.
Vitamins and Minerals
Eat just 2 oz. of red currants and you'll have gotten 40 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin C. These fruits have four times more vitamin C than oranges do, according to Cornell University's Chronicle Online. They have no sodium but contain 2 percent of the recommended daily value of calcium and 4 percent of iron per serving.
Selection and Storage
When shopping for fresh red currants, look for ones with good color and no soft spots or mold. Bring them home, refrigerate them and use them as soon as you can. They will last five to seven days. Don't wash them until just before use. If fresh red currants are hard to find, you can substitute frozen red currants in recipes.
Because they are relatively tart, red currants are often used as garnishes or in cooking rather than being eaten raw. You can use them in jams and jellies, preserves and pies. You can also use red currants to make wine.