At last the sun is shining ! Well it did until 5pm, now there are those rather ominous grey puffy jobs floating around above me and threatening to stop me playing in the garden (weeding and strimming).
I am going out in a few minutes to pick my first blackberries of the year (assuming it doesn't rain). I have a load growing under one of the bird tables, as well as the millions in the hedges around the place, and it's a race to beat the birds to them ! I will be making some blackberry jam and some blackberry cordial with this batch MMMM.
Blackberry cordial (along with elderberry cordial) is an age old remedy for warding off colds etc through the winter. I always make a few batches and have a warm glass of it every evening through the cold months, and touch wood, rarely get a cold.
I'll post my recipe for blackberry jam tomorrow, but for now here is how I make blackberry cordial...
Blackberry Cordial Recipe
1 piece of stick Cinnamon
1. Pick the fruit on a dry day and stew in a large stainless steel saucepan, with just enough water to cover.
2. Strain through muslin, squeezing to get all the juice.
3. To each pint of juice add 1 lb of white granulated sugar and 10 cloves. Add the allspice and cinnamon in a muslin bag at this point also.
4. Boil for 10 minutes.
5. Allow to cool just a bit and remove the muslin bag.
6. Whilst still hot, bottle in sterile glass bottles with good quality screw-on tops, making sure you distribute the cloves evenly amongst the bottles (they act as a preservative). I use recycled bottles from a friend's bar and clean them well. Bottling & sealing whilst hot creates a vacuum and helps the cordial to last longer.
The cordial can be used immediately, but will also keep well for a year or two. It's used diluted 1 part cordial to 5-7 parts water, depending on your taste. It's also great when added to vodka or rum...
Taken with hot water it is renowned as a guard against colds, and a glass a day through winter is a very effective precaution.