Cordial intentions

bowl of raspberries

Gorgeous gluts can be preserved for dark winter nights

Whatever anyone says about this season, it has been exceptionally good (in our garden anyway) for raspberries. Canes drape over our beehives, lurk under apple trees, pop out from shrubs and thickets and the fruit is so good. Towards the end of the season, when raspberry beetle affects the quality of the fruit for dessert use, it is still excellent for jam, wine and cordials. Assuming your freezer is full and you would like to try some other way to preserve fruit, here is my favourite, adapted from a french recipe:

Raspberry and mint cordial

Ingredients: 1kg of fresh raspberries

1 bottle home-made or dry white wine (I used nettle)

white granulated sugar or fruit sugar

4 good sprigs apple mint

scrupulously clean screw-top bottles with tops.

Method: put fruit in large bowl.

wine bottle and fruit

using wine to extract flavour

Add wine and leave for 2 days to draw the juice out of the berries.

fruit in wine

home-made wine preserves and extracts flavours

Crush fruit and sieve it into 2nd bowl.

mashing fruit in bowl

crushing the berries

sieve full of fruit pulp

sieve the fruit into another bowl

Measure resulting liquid into a pan. To every 1 litre juice add 700g sugar.

pan with juice simmering

heating the juice to drive off alcohol and sterilise

Heat gently till sugar dissolves then bring to boil for 2 minutes to drive off the alcohol. Meanwhile sterilise the bottles you want to store the cordial in. I used various wine vinegar and sauce bottles and tops, cleaned, boiled and drained. Pour cordial carefully into the bottles, finished level near to the top. If you like, you can heat them in a pan for 10 minutes more.

bottles of juice

Bottles can be any size or type as long as they are sterile

Secure the screw-tops. Label, including a reminder that a trace of alcohol may be present.

Use in dark days to bring warm summer tastes into memory. Its really nice with sparkling water to dilute, or with hot water to make a winter punch.  I also make this with peach or with raspberry wine (and no mint leaves) and it is exquisite.