This story had its beginnings many years ago when, as a child, I went with my parents to my great uncle’s farm to pick currants – both black and red. I remember being told that the black ones were to be picked individually. It was easier to pick the red ones because they could be picked with their stems attached. I’m not sure how much I helped filling the baskets but it is a fond memory and I have loved black and red currant berries ever since.
Three years ago a DF gave us three black currant bushes to plant. I knew not to expect any fruit the first two years, so it was exciting to discover tiny green blossoms on the plants this spring and even more exciting was the fact that bees were buzzing from flowers to flower. Over the weeks since I have checked the progress of our very first currant crop, watching the berries turn from green to red to black. Finally, it was time to pick. Under the blazing July sun I sat at each bush and carefully picked the fruit sampling the odd one or two.
When I had finished I’d managed to half fill a 3L basket – not bad for a first crop.
Black Currant Syrup
300g black currants
125 ml raw honey
150 ml water
juice from 1/2 lemon
Wash the black currants and remove any green stems that may still be attached.
Add all the ingredients to a saucepan and cook very gently over a low heat for two hours.
Line a sieve with cheesecloth, and suspend the sieve over a large enough pan to contain the juice. Pour the cooked berries into the cheesecloth and allow them to drip overnight:
The next day pour the strained syrup into a sterilized jar and store in the refrigerator.
This yielded 250ml of syrup, (and about an equal amount of mashed berries):
Enjoy the syrup as a refreshing cordial: add a large spoonful to sparkling water and ice.
The mashed berries: well I plan to mix a generous spoonful with my favourite unflavoured yogurt.
Black currants are an excellent source of vitamin C – better than oranges!