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.


  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

    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!

  2. That looks very tempting!

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

  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.


Post a Comment