Laois Chef Imelda Tynan makes the most of a bumper blackcurrant harvest

Imelda Tynan's blackcurrant cordial and jelly

Imelda Tynan's blackcurrant cordial and jelly

Last Friday, a treasured friend, Mrs Dooley, arrived with a huge basket containing over 30 lbs of lovely fresh black currants.  This wasn’t quite what I had in mind when she phoned the day before telling me that she was going to pick a few black currants and asking if I’d use them!

I was absolutely delighted and I can honestly say I’ve never seen so many berries together before. I was always used to getting a pound or two that might make a couple of pots of jelly but nothing like this.

Straightaway I was thinking about what I’d use them for and couldn’t wait to get started. I froze a lot in small batches to use them at their freshest and I’ve been enjoying making something with them everyday since. First up was lovely black currant cordial which I’m serving complimentary every day now in the restaurant.

I also made gorgeous black currant jelly which is being served with the fresh scones everyday. I brought a batch of the cordial home to make ice pops which are barely frozen before they’re being eaten.  

This week I’ve given you the recipes for the blackcurrant cordial, blackcurrant jelly and apple and blackcurrant crumble.

Next up will be the black currant jam, and some syrup for desserts. I hope you enjoy!

Blackcurrant Jelly

4lb Blackcurrants

600ml Water

Juice of ½ Lemon

Sugar as per method

Wash the blackcurrants and remove the stems. Place the blackcurrants, water and lemon juice in a saucepan and cook slowly over a low heat for 2 hours until the fruit is soft. Put the pulped fruit into a muslin bag and suspend over a clean bowl and allow to strain until all the liquid has been extracted, I like to leave this overnight.

Weigh the liquid and for every ounce of liquid add the same amount of sugar, return to the heat and bring to the boil and using the saucer method or jam thermometer check for a setting point. Transfer to sterilised jars and leave to set.

Blackcurrant Cordial

2½lb Blackcurrants

1½ lb Sugar

500ml Water

1tsp Citric Acid

Place the blackcurrants, sugar and water in a saucepan and cook gently for about 5 minutes, mash up the fruit to release the juices and add the citric acid and simmer for another 10 minutes, then cover and leave overnight. Strain the mix through muslin and pour into sterilised bottles and refrigerate.

Apple & Blackcurrant Crumble

8oz Flour

4oz Light Brown Sugar

4oz Butter

5 Cooking Apples

8oz Blackcurrants

4oz Castor Sugar

1⁄2 tsp Cinnamon

Heat the oven to 1800. Mix the flour, sugar and butter together to resemble breadcrumbs, mix in the cinnamon.

Into an oven proof dish peel, slice and core the apples, add the blackcurrants and sprinkle over the castor sugar.

Cover the fruit with the flour mix and bake in the oven for between 40 and 50 minutes until apples are soft and the crumb is fully baked.

Leave to cool before serving, delicious served with cream.




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