These tart and tasty berries have been enjoyed as a nutritious and healthy fruit for centuries. I love their complex, almost smoky, flavour and I love to get the most out of my harvest.
So here is another of my multiple product recipes from one batch of ingredients. Permaculture in action - make a regal liqueur and a smashing jam.
Just scale the ingredients pro rata according to the size of your harvest.
1kg blackcurrants, cleaned and stemmed
300-500g caster sugar
Crush the blackcurrants in a bowl or similar. (I use old glass sweet jars - perfect for this). Pour over the brandy and give a quick stir so you can enjoy the heady aroma. Cover and leave for about 2 months or so.
Filter the liquid through a jelly bag or double layer of muslin. Keep the pulp, you'll make the jam with this.
For the next stage, you ideally need a container you can close tightly and shake. Add the sugar to this container. I use the lower amount, I find too much sugar cloying. Pour in the strained blackcurrant and brandy maceration. Shake daily until the sugar is dissolved and leave for a further 2 weeks or more.
Strain again through a filter bag or muslin. If you want a very bright liqueur, strain again through a coffee filter or layers of paper kitchen towel. Pour into sterilised bottles, cap and leave to mature for as long as you are able.
This is delightful as a pre or post dinner drink on its own. You can mix 1 part cassis with 3 parts neutral white wine to make a 'Kir', or with prosecco or cava to make 'Petillant Kir' or with champagne to make 'Kir Royale'. It's also great used to deglaze a frying pan of chicken, duck, pork or game such as venison. Try it over ice cream or other fruit.
Cassis fridge jam
Weigh your delightful blackcurrant/brandy pulp and tip into a saucepan. Add an equal weight of granulated sugar.
Slowly bring to a rolling boil and then boil for 5 minutes. Pour into sterilised jam jars and cap immediately.
This jam will keep for up to a year if capped immediately while very hot. Once open, keep in the fridge, the lower sugar content means it will not keep so long. But then it won't need to, you'll love it so much.
Carl Legge lives on the Llyn Peninsula in Wales on a permaculture smallholding and writes a regular blog full of delicious recipes and more.
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