The perfect way to capture these little berries. The children will enjoy it as squash diluted with water or made into ice lollies and for the adults it's perfect with soda water and a splash of vodka, or even made into flavoured ice cubes to pop into your drinks. You need to leave time in this recipe to strain the blackcurrants properly (I do this over night) and you can use a fine large sieve but a straining bag is much easier. The recipe will keep for around 6 months unopened if you use sterilised glass bottles with metal lids. Once the bottle is opened keep it in the fridge.
:: 1kg blackcurrants :: 1.5 litres water :: granulated sugar :: juice of 1 lemon::
- Pick over your blackcurrants removing any stems and wash
- Pop then in a pan, add the water and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer until the fruit is soft - maybe 15 minutes or so
- Suspend your straining bag in some wonderfully inventive way involving cupboard doors or up ended chairs and place a clean bowl underneath large enough to catch the juice.
- Leave until all the juice has run though the bag (I usual do this overnight)
- Sort out some glass bottles with metal lids (this is important so you get a good seal), clean and wash them well (preferably in a dishwasher) and leave to drain
- The next day take your bag of pulp away (you can freeze this, give it to your chickens or add it to a crumble or a jam)
- Put the liquid into a measuring jug and see how much you have (probably somewhere around a litre give or take)
- warm your oven up to 175 deg C to sterilise your bottles. Place your bottle with their lids off on a baking tray (on their sides is usually easiest) place the lids in a small saucepan
- Put the blackcurrant juice into a large pan (trust me - go for a large pan as when it boils it will boil up very rapidly and the last thing you want to do is have sticky overboiled syrup to clean off your hob!)
- Add sugar - I use the same quantity of sugar to match the quantity of liquid I have (so if you have 1 litre of liquid use 1 kg of sugar (however some people prefer less so please feel free to experiment!). This will preserve the cordial and if it seems scary remember you are diluting this down when you actually drink it!
- Add the lemon juice to your blackcurrant mix
- Pop your bottles in the oven for 20 minutes and pop some water on the lids and bring it to the boil
- Bring the blackcurrant mix to the boil gradually stirring as you go and making sure the sugar is dissolving. When it comes to the boil it will boil up rapidly, hold it at this rapid boil for around 5 minutes and then remove from the heat. You want it to boil enough the sugar stays dissolved and you preserve the cordial, but not so much you produce a jelly!
- By this time the bottle and lids should be done. Take the bottles from the oven and the lids from the pan and place on a clean tea towel
- Let everything cool down for around 5-10 minutes
- Pour the hot cordial into the bottles carefully, seal with the lids and allow to cool