Fruit cordials are especially popular in Sweden and, although they are easy to buy in supermarkets, there is nothing quite like a homemade cordial, especially if it is made with fruit that you have picked yourself.
Strawberry cordial can be used to make some wonderful drinks, from fancy cocktails to nice fruity drinks for children. Traditionally, Swedes often gave their children hot fruit drinks during the winter as they are a good source of vitamin C. (Just 50g (2oz) of strawberries is sufficient for the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C. Strawberries are also a good source of vitamin K, which is needed for both bone and brain health.)
Swedes sometimes make rårörd jordgubbssaft (raw strawberry cordial). It has a slightly fresher taste, but unless frozen it must be consumed within a week. To make it, follow the recipe below, but only heat the juice gently until the sugar has dissolved and then bottle. John Duxbury
• Look out in kitchen shops for a natty little stand for straining. They hold the muslin at the top and it makes straining so much easier.
• Replace some of the strawberries with rhubarb to make rhubarb and strawberry cordial, a classic combination.
|1 kg||(2 lb)||strawberries|
|500 ml||(2 cups)||water|
|2 tsp||lemon juice|
|600 g||(1¼ lb)||caster (superfine) sugar|
1. Rinse and hull the strawberries.
2. Purée the strawberries with the water and lemon juice in a food processor. Transfer to the fridge and leave for 48 hours.
3. Line a sieve with muslin and strain the mixture through it.
4. Put the juice into a clean pan and add the sugar.
5. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.
6. Boil for 3 minutes, skimming the scum from surface with a spoon.
7. Put the hot liquid into sterilised* bottles. Store in a cupboard and, when opened, in your fridge.
*Sterilise bottles by washing and then placing in an oven at 120°C (240°F, gas 1) for 5 minutes.
• Add two teaspoons of cordial to a flute (champagne) glass and top up with sparkling wine for a gorgeous refreshing summery aperitif. Add some diced strawberries to the glass if desired but I prefer to serve it with a small dish of strawberries.
• Place a few ice cubes, 1 tablespoon of strawberry cordial, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 35 ml (1½ fl oz) white rum and 25 ml (1 fl oz) of lemon or lime juice to a cocktail shaker and shake well. Strain into a Martini glass and garnish with half a strawberry and a slice of lemon or lime. Top up with soda water if desired.
• Use in a salad dressing instead of honey, or try our chicken and strawberry salad recipe.
• Dilute to taste with cold water, about 1 part cordial to 6 parts water. Serve with lots of ice and garnished with mint if desired.
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