Blackcurrant cordial

Blackcurrant cordial

A Year of Practiculture
1-1.5 litres
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

A mate of mine needed a hand laying a concrete slab for a garden shed. He’s Polish and he loves a deal – heck, I reckon it’s in my Mediterranean blood to be a deal-maker too. Everything comes down to sharing skills, labour, knowledge or produce. No money need be exchanged. It’s a great community asset, although I’m sure the taxman would disagree. The deal was labour for fruit, which seemed pretty fair to me. So on went the gumboots for a morning spent laying concrete and an afternoon picking fruit – a day well spent with a mate. My Polish brother has an extensive fruit orchard he’s been adding to for years. He’s got more than a hundred trees, shrubs and berries that provide his young family with a fruity cuisine. From spring to autumn he has food in his backyard to be harvested, including a proper functional vegetable patch. This guy has it made in the shade.

He took me over to a patch of blackcurrants, which were dripping off the branches in clumps of black. He told me to pick as many as I wanted, as he’d had his fill for the season. I guess when you have so much fruit to choose from you can get over different crops easily! Even though they’re fiddly to pick, I’m glad we filled a few buckets, because it makes a refreshing cordial for summer. It’s a very basic process, which furnishes some high-value produce. And of course, if you make a few too many bottles, you have more things to make deals with.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg blackcurrants, stems removed
440g white sugar
2-3 lemons


  1. Put the blackcurrants, sugar and 500 ml water in a large saucepan. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into the mix, then add the lemons as well. Bring to the boil over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat and gently simmer for 20 minutes. The currants will soften, but to get the most flavour from the fruit, squish them down with something like a potato masher or even a hand-held blender (cool a little first) to release all that flavour. You can steep the mixture overnight to concentrate the cordial.
  2. Strain through muslin and store in sterilised bottles.
  3. Goes great guns with soda water and vodka. Just sayin’ …
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