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Tips for making homemade cordials

With an abundance of fruit ripening, now is the time to store away for the winter by making homemade cordials to remind you of the summer. These will go perfectly with the homemade jams you have made previously (see our blog on Wednesday). Cordials are easy to make as long you are prepared. Cordials are so versatile as they can be enjoyed simply with chilled water or to flavour cocktails, desserts and other dishes.

Cordials are a mix of fruit, sugar, water and tartaric or citric acid. The latter ingredients are used as a preservative, so they’re optional and can be bought from a chemist or health food shop.

The general principle is to boil the fruit down with a relatively small amount of water, to produce a clear fruit liquid. How much liquid is produced will depend upon the type of fruit used, its stage of ripeness and level of rain prior to picking.

Making the cordial can be split over two days to allow fruit-pulp to strain or flowers to steep. You can even prepare the fruit liquid when you’ve got a glut, then freeze it and make the cordial another time.

For some handy top tips for making cordials, the professional domestic cleaners at MOLLY MAID suggest the following:

Equipment you will need:

  • A large sterilised bottle, smaller bottles or jars. You will need to make sure that you wash the bottles with hot, soapy water, then rinse well and dry. The best way to ensure that they are completely dry, is to drain them on a baking sheet and place them in the oven on a low temperature. It is very important that the bottles are bone dry before you start.
  • A wooden spoon
  • A filter and clean muslin cloth or tea towel to strain the mixture through
  • 500g of fruit/ berries with equal quantities of caster sugar depending on the ripeness and sugar content of the fruit. A top tip is to taste as you go along
  • 3 Tbsp of Red Wine vinegar

Making the cordial:

  • Depending on your choice of fruit or florals, it will either be boiled in a sugar/ honey syrup e.g. rhubarb, or added later e.g. elderflower.
  • For a raspberry (or in fact any sweet berry based) cordial you would need:
    • Pour the ingredients into a pan. Mash over a low heat for 10 mins until smooth and syrupy, but not the consistency of jam! Rub through a sieve into a clean pan.
    • If using berries with seeds, tip the seeds from the sieve into a bowl and stir in 300ml water, then sieve again to remove the last of the pulp from seeds. Pour the liquid into the pan with the sieved pulp, stir well and boil for another min. Pour either into small sterilised bottles, or one large bottle and seal.

Did you know?

Cordials will keep in a cool, dark place for up to a month, or in the fridge for slightly longer, or even in the freezer for slightly longer. It’s essential that they are stored correctly to avoid the fermentation process setting in.