Fresh berry cordials are especially popular in Sweden. Although fruit cordials are easy to buy in supermarkets, there is nothing quite like a homemade cordial and blueberry is certainly one of my favourites.
Swedes would probably prefer to make this with bilberries, but I’ve certainly seen a lot of cultivated blueberries on sale in supermarkets in Sweden, so you can substitute cultivated blueberries and still feel you are making something very Swedish!
Bilberries are smaller, darker and have a more concentrated flavour than their cultivated cousins. Apparently 17% of Sweden is covered with wild blueberry bushes. Not surprisingly therefore they have been a favourite berry with Swedes for millennia.
Whether you use bilberries or blueberries you can be sure that you will be making a delicious healthy drink. John Duxbury
• Look out in kitchen shops for a natty little stand for straining. They hold the muslin at the top and so it makes straining so much easier.
• Store bottles of cordial in a cupboard and, when opened, in your refrigerator.
• The quantities are easy to change: simply weigh the blueberries and then add 30% by weight of sugar.
|500 g||(1 lb)||blueberries or bilberries|
|150 g||(5 oz)||caster (superfine) sugar|
1. Rinse the berries, leave them on their stalks but remove any coarse stalks.
2. Put the berries in a saucepan and add 250 ml (1 cup) of water. Bring to the boil and let simmer until the berries have burst (about ten minutes).
3. Line a sieve with muslin (or use a stand) and strain the cooked berries.
4. Return the juice to the saucepan and add the sugar. Bring to boil and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove any scum from the surface with a spoon.
5. Pour the hot liquid through a funnel into a sterilised bottle. (Sterilise by washing and then placing in an oven at 120°C (240°F, gas 1) for 5 minutes.)
• Dilute to taste with cold water, about 1 part cordial to 5 parts water.
• Dilute with boiling water for a delicious hot winter drink.
• Use in a salad dressing instead of honey.
• Gently heat some cordial and pour it over vanilla ice cream.
• Add to hot water and a shot of rum for a hot toddy if you have a cold.
• Add to sparkling water or sparkling wine to make a delightful summery drink.
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