Ribena is a fabulous cordial and one most of us grew up drinking. However, it is a pale imitation compared to the homemade stuff that even a child could make. (Now there’s an idea…)
Blackcurrants freeze very well, so if you haven’t got time to make your cordial straight away you can pop the blackcurrants in the freezer and then make it at your leisure. Simply spread them out on a baking tray to freeze individually and pop them in a bag once they’ve frozen but don’t forget to label it with the contents and the weight.
- 1kg blackcurrants
- Around 400ml water (enough to cover)
- Granulated white sugar to taste
- Juice of one lemon
Makes around 700ml of cordial, depending on how juicy the blackcurrants are and how much water you need to add to cover them.
1. Tip the blackcurrants into a large saucepan and barely cover with water. The amount shown above is a good guide but you can adjust it to suit your pan.
2. Simmer for a few minutes until the blackcurrants have burst and gone mushy. Feel free to help them along with a potato masher or similar.
3. Sterilise your jelly bag while they’re boiling. I simply sit it in boiling water for a few minutes before putting it in its stand.
4. Ladle the blackcurrants into the jelly bag and leave to drip for at least six hours. We leave it to drip slowly overnight and cover the top of the strainer with a tea towel to keep the flies away. You can squeeze the bag to help speed things up but you might end up with a cloudy cordial, which will taste fine but won’t look as nice.
5. Measure the liquid and add 500g of sugar per 1 litre of juice. Warm gently (but don’t let it boil) to dissolve the sugar and then add the lemon juice.
6. Mix some up in a glass to check for sweetness (1 part cordial to 4 parts water), adding more sugar if necessary.
7. Decant into sterilized bottles and seal. It will keep for up to three months on the shelf. Once opened, it is best stored in the fridge.
You can substitute redcurrants for blackcurrants if you’ve got plenty of the former and none of the latter.
If you don’t have a jelly bag then a large sieve or colander lined with a double thickness of muslin (or even a clean tea towel) will do. Just make sure that they haven’t been recently washed as the taste of detergent and conditioner will come through in the finished juice.
Still lots of blackcurrants left? Try this recipe for blackcurrant jam
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