Monthly Archives: February 2014

Sticky sweet: Blackcurrant syrup

I know lately I’ve been using the word ‘homegrown’ a lot, and probably in a very self-congratulatory way but I never realised how satisfying it was to know that you grew and hand-picked something you are eating until I started doing it. My recent preserving tangent, while starting as a way to fulfil Christmas present obligations, has grown into a way to use fruit, herbs and vegetables grown in my own garden and those of my friends and family, rather than see anything go to waste. This has led to inventiveness that even I will admit has gone off the deep end – resulting in phrases like “why throw away the skins of used lemons when I could use the peel to make flavoured salt?!” coming out of my mouth. It has also spurred my love of free food that began while digging around in supermarkets rubbish skips while at University.

Today I took a more legal route and foraged¬†1kg of blackcurrants (and unintentionally¬†2 stick insects, but don’t worry, no living creatures were harmed in the making of this meal). I hate to use the word ‘foraged’ as it sounds so lame and trendy, but what else can you call it when you find a patch of wild berries growing and pick them? Add some lemons from my grandparents place, strawberries from my parents place, some sugar and you have yourself enough team-effort blackcurrant syrup to last through till next summer!

Blackcurrant syrup (recipe from
450g blackcurrants
250g caster sugar
260ml water
1 medium sized lemon

Sterilise the bottles you will be using to store the syrup
De-stalk and wash the blackcurrants, don’t be too picky – it doesn’t matter if some still have stalks attached
Heat the blackcurrants, sugar and water in a medium saucepan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved
Once the sugar has dissolved bring the syrup to a gentle simmer
Simmer for 5 minutes then add the juice and skin of the lemon
Bring the syrup back to simmer for a further 5 minutes
Pass the cordial through a fine sieve, pressing the berries with a wooden spoon to squeeze the juice out of them, then pour the cordial into sterilised bottles
Store in the fridge or if you feel like it, freeze in ice cube trays (you could add them straight to lemonade or water!)




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