This Blackcurrant Syrup recipe is SO simple to make.
So if you grow, or can source, a bunch of blackcurrants this year. Do yourself a favour and make this recipe pronto!
Have you ever considered making your own Ribena juice from blackcurrants?
It is so simple to make!
And you’ll be rewarded with a big batch of blackcurrant cordial that will knock the socks off anything you can buy in the supermarket.
How to Make Blackcurrant Cordial
You can make black currant syrup from either fresh, or frozen blackcurrants. I like to make a fresh batch in the summer, when our blackcurrant bushes are fruiting.
Then towards the end of blackcurrant season, we pick the remaining fruits and freeze them to last us all winter.
If there are any berries left by the following Spring, we tend to use them up in this Ribena recipe, or our other favourite blackcurrant drink, blackcurrant liqueur. (highly recommended!)
Start by placing your (fresh or frozen) black currants and the water into a saucepan.
How to make a ‘double boiler’ or ‘bain marie’
Your blackcurrants need to be gently cooked to release their juices.
This is best done by heating indirectly using a double boiler (also known as a bain marie). If you just plonk them in a pan directly on the stove you may burn them, or overheat them. Overheating can damage their delicate flavour, nutrients and colour.
To rig up a makeshift double boiler, find 2 saucepans that nest pretty well.
The bottom, bigger pan will hold enough water to come halfway up the sides of the top, smaller pan.
You then put the nested pans onto the heat, and the simmering water in the bottom pan will gently heat the contents in the top pan!
You can also use a healtproof bowl (such as Pyrex or ceramic) for the smaller option.
Just mind your fingers as you work, as it’ll get hot.
How to extract the juices from blackcurrants & berries
Gently heat the blackcurrants in a double boiler for about 10 minutes.
Next, take the pans off the heat and mash the fruit with a fork or potato masher.
This will help the skins to break apart, thereby releasing even more juice.
Return to the heat for another 10 minutes or so.
When the contents of the pan are looking slushy and wet, remove from the heat.
You now need to strain the juice from the currants.
How to strain blackcurrants for their juice
To do this, I poured the contents of the pan into a glass measuring jug, through a ‘nut milk bag‘(amazon affiliate link).
This is a fine mesh straining bag that allows you to hang the blackcurrants up and for them to release their juices drip by beautiful drip.
You can also use a clean piece of muslin cloth laid in a sieve.
But if you do any amount of preserving, a nut milk bag comes in handy for so many different projects.
It’s worth noting that this bit can get messy!
My hands, and my wooden kitchen counter, both became stained by that ruby red juice.
You have been warned!
This is another bit of kit that gets used for a surprising amount of things! I have the Tala red plastic one, but wouldn’t recommend that one. Instead choose a stainless steel jam funnel and it should last you a lifetime. Jane x
You then want to rig up a hanging station for your blackcurrant juice strainer.
I have a spare camera tripod that has a very handy weight hook on.
But in the past, I’ve rigged up my straining bag using my kitchen broom and 2 kitchen chairs!
Let your imagination run riot :)
You can also squidge the contents of the bag to extract more juice, and this is how you’ll achieve that fashionable purple manicure!
I ended up letting my bag hang overnight, and in the morning, this is how it looked…
How to make cordial from blackcurrant juice and sugar
At this point you’ll need to measure how much blackcurrant juice you’ve extracted.
Mine was very thick so I added enough cold water to bring it up to 568ml (or 1 pint in old money).
This then gets poured into a clean pan, along with the sugar.
And this needs to be really gently heated, stirring the whole time. Just until the sugar is dissolved.
You won’t even need to bring it to a simmer for this to happen.
So stay close, and keep a very beady eye on it.
Finally, all that’s left to do io bottle up your delicious homemade Ribena syrup!
You can buy pretty bottles for this, or reuse any of glass bottles you have.
Either way, see below for ways to sterilise your bottles before filling.
Also, be sure to let your cordial cool in the bottle fully before putting on the lid or cap.
Any heat left in the syrup will cause condensation in the bottleneck which could lead to mould.
How to Sterilise glass bottles for cordials and juices
It is imperative that any preserved product you want to make last longer than a few days in the fridge, must be poured into clean and sterile containers.
I’ll be writing a whole post on this soon as it’s so important. But for now, here’s a quick run through:
You can sterilise new or used glass bottles by:
- cleaning in hot soapy water, then running through the dishwasher
- clean in hot soapy water, then placing in a large pan of boiling water, and boiling for 15 minutes
- cleaning in hot soapy water, then refilling with cold water and adding 1/4 of a Milton sterilising tablet (Amazon affiliate link), and leaving for 15 minutes
If you notice that your homemade cordial has any mould or fluff on the surface on inside of bottle at any point after making it, please do not drink and dispose of it instead.
Help! My blackcurrant cordial isn’t sweet enough!
The recipe below is perfect for those of us that would rather taste the currants than the sugar. It is nowhere as sweet as Ribena.
That said, if you’re making this for kids that are used to drinking regular Ribena, you may find this isn’t sweet enough for them.
In the recipe card below you’ll see the basic recipe, with the minimum amount of sugar needed to make this syrup work. (DO NOT use less sugar than this, as it will likely go mouldy if you try to store it for more than a few days).
But I’ll also advise you when to taste the syrup to make sure it’s sweet enough for you.
I’ll then walk you through how much more sugar to add to make it more like the storebought blackcurrant syrups.
How Can You Use Blackcurrant Syrup?
Most simply you can use this blackcurrant cordial mixed with cold iced water for a refreshing taste of summer.
It’s also great as a pouring syrup over ice cream or pancakes. Or try it mixed with milk as a milkshake.
Or even boiling water for a mug of hot blackcurrant (my absolute favourite!).
It also goes together perfectly with vodka or gin, so try adding a little dash to your favourite tipple.
And if you come up with any new favourite cocktails using it, be sure to let us all know in the comments below!
One little bottle of homemade blackcurrant syrup will keep on giving all year long!
Want to make your own? Grab the recipe below, and do tag me in any pics you share on social media – I love to see when my recipes get made around the world! You can find me pretty much everywhere as @hedgecomber :)
And if you want more blackcurrant recipes, head over to my Blackcurrant recipe category.
Angela left this great tip in the comments:
“I have been making it for years, I also freeze ice cube sizes…… perfect for storing for longer periods.”
Angela, that’s genius!
How to make homemade blackcurrant cordial
- 500 g blackcurrants
- 300 ml water
- 250 g sugar up to 350g depending on taste
Rinse the berries under cold running water.
Place them inside the smaller of two saucepans, along with the water.
Place this pan inside a larger pan that has been half-filled with water to create a double boiler (see above for more info on this).
Put the pans on the stove and bring the bottom pan to a gentle boil.
After 10 minutes, use a fork or a potato mashed to squash the currants down, to extract all the juice from the fruit.
Return the pans to the heat and cook for another 10 minutes (20 minutes total).
Carefully pour the fruit and all the juices through a 'nut milk bag' (see above) or a sieve lined with a piece of clean muslin, into a jug.
Measure the juice, using cold water to top it up to 560ml (1 pint) if necessary. Pour this into a clean pan and add in 250g sugar.
Put back on the heat and stirring constantly, very gently dissolve the sugar. DO NOT let it simmer or boil.
Using a clean spoon, taste the syrup. If it isn't sweet enough add more sugar.
You can safely add up to 350g sugar per 560mls of juice without affecting the texture of your syrup too much, although do keep in mind that the more sugar you use, the thicker your syrup will be.
Using a sterilised funnel, pour the syrup into pre-sterilised bottles.
Leave at room temperature to cool down before putting on the (sterilised) lid.
Once cooled, add the lids or corks and place the bottles in the fridge.
If your equipment was spotlessly clean, you store the bottles in the fridge and you follow the measurement guidelines above, your syrup will be tasty and safe to consume for several months.