Sunday, 5 July 2015

blackcurrant 'beena


Summer has arrived and with it record breaking temperatures.
The weather has lurched from an unseasonable 'shall-we-put-the-heating-on' cold to 'fling-the-doors- and-windows-open' hot.
The sun and heat has meant the fruit on the allotment has started to ripen at an alarming rate; strawberries and blackcurrants by the bowlful which very soon will be followed by the gooseberries.



I decided to make the blackcurrants into a cordial which with the addition of water and ice could be turned into a refreshing drink.
In the River Cottage Handbook on Preserves Pam Corbin has recipes for fruit ' beenas (named, as you might have realised, after a famous blackcurrant drink).


I used 1kg of fruit simmered in 600ml of water until soft. This was then tipped into a jelly bag and left to drip overnight.
To each litre of juice, I added 700g of granulated sugar and heated gently.
(This seems like an inordinate amount but the syrup is to be used well diluted.)

When the sugar had dissolved, I continued heating until the temperature registered  88-90c on a sugar thermometer in order to sterilise the liquid.
I then poured it into bottles which had also been sterilised by immersing them in a large pan of water and bringing to the boil.


The cordial has a beautiful rich colour and with the addition of sparkling water makes a super refreshing drink for this hot weather.

Or drizzled over ice-cream with strawberries, mango and banana, a gorgeous  summery dessert.




5 comments:

  1. Delicious. I'd dearly like to make some, but I had such a catastrophe with blackcurrants and a jelly bag last year I don't know if I dare. It does look terribly tempting drizzled over ice-cream though. And some parts of the kitchen are still pink, so it's not as if I can make things worse... CJ xx

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    1. Oh no :( I had a similar experience some years ago when a jelly bag full of quinces slipped from my hand and splattered half the kitchen!

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  2. That looks very tempting!

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  3. My blackcurrant bush is just about ready to harvest, the cordial may be the answer. Initially I was thinking pies...

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  4. Ooh, I bet both hit the spot beautifully, given this hot spell. I planted my first blackcurrant bush earlier this year but it doesn't appear to have made much progress. Maybe still settling in.

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