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Redcurrant and Raspberry Cordial

This recipe is in category Stuarts,
About this recipe:
Difficulty: 2
Comments: You need to boil sugar and water together to make syrup - this can get extremely hot; please take great care and get a grown up to help.

Mashing can be done in a blender but it is much more fun to do it by hand. If you have washed your hands properly, then they are probably the best mashers of all!
Preparation Time: 20 mins + 1 hour for fruit to strain
Cooking Time: 3 mins
Number of servings: 12-14
Serving suggestions: Dilute with water, sparkling water or soda water - add ice to make a really refreshing summer drink
This is a vegetarian recipe

Redcurrants are native to Western Europe and became more popular in Britain in 17th Century and have since been hightly valued for their healthy properties: lots of vitamin C, many minerals and much fibre.

Raspberries are similarly healthy (and don't lose that in preserving - they freeze well without any preparation). They probably came over with the Romans who were great raspberry lovers.

In the 17th Century, sugar became both more popular and easily available (due to the Transatlantic Slave Trade - see The Abolition Project) and fresh fruit became thought to be harmful to the digestive system, so it was mostly eaten cooked.

The Cordial makes a delightful summer drink and combines the Stuarts love of sugar with their suspicion of raw fruit.

Once made, it can be bottled and kept in the refrigerator for a week or two.

It is a cordial and so it needs watering down (like squash) when you drink it. In Stuart times, it may well have been combined with brandy as well as water. Today it is good with lemonade or soda water, if you like something less sweet, and ice, to make a refreshing and healthy drink for a warm summer's day!!!!

Tip: If, like me, you cannot bear to waste the fruit pulp that is left when you have strained the cordial, combine it with cooking apples and use to make a delicious crumble, brown betty or pie.

For the syrup:

For the cordial:

Making and cooking it
Start with the sugar syrup:
  1. Slowly heat the sugar and water together in a saucepan, stirring gently until the sugar has dissolved
  2. Bring to the boil and boil for 2 - 3 minutes (until it becomes a little syrupy)
  3. Set aside to cool

For the main cordial:
  1. Put water and sugar to boil in a saucepan
  2. Meanwhile, remove any stalks or green from the fruit
  3. Crush the fruit well with a masher or wooden spoon or largish pestle
  4. Add the fruit to the water and stir well
  5. Strain the fruit mixture through a muslin cloth or fine sieve
  6. This may take some time, so leave it to drip for an hour
  7. Mix together the syrup and cordial
  8. Bottle and keep in a fridge