This is one of those childhood recipes. You know… those treats that you only got to taste once or twice as a kid. My mother did not make this despite all the begging but luckily now as an adult I can make all the blackcurrant leaf juice I want and so should you. This juice epitomes the taste of summer garden and the recipe below gives you 2,5 litres of blackcurrant leaf cordial. Give a gift bottle to a neighbor, make killer cocktails and keep cool on your summer days with blackcurrant leaf popsicles.
How to get started
Blackcurrants are popular for the berries but the leaves should not be ignored either. Not only are they fantastic flavor agents in pickling but are the very hero of this drink. The blackcurrant plant does not get offended at all when you pluck its leaves. Only blackcurrant leaves have the aroma, don’t mix with other currant varieties.
Choose fresh medium green leaves and ignore the damaged ones. Towards the end of summer you want pay attention in choosing the leaves. The rule of thumb I’ve learned is that the leaves are plucked before the berries are fully developed. Now timing this depends where you live, the quality of the summer and the fact what kind of plants you have since there are early and late blackcurrant varieties.
Here in Finland our blackcurrants are usually picked in early August so making this leaf juice from early June to late July is usually possible. The age of the plant is a factor, too. We cut down our blackcurrants last year so we’re not getting berries this summer. Instead, the currants are crazy growing new branches and the leaves are vibrant green. In addition to making this juice cordial, I also picked some leaves to the freezer.
Blackcurrant Leaf Juice | Recipe
The following recipe gives you 2,5 litres of cordial with a blending ratio of 1:5. Remember to sterilize bottles, seals, corks and whatnot as well as the filter bag.
2 litres blackcurrant leaves
2 litres water
1200 g caster sugar
25g citric acid
Pluck 2 litres of blackcurrant leaves, wash them thoroughly and set aside. Boil 2 litres of water and the add leaves into the kettle. Let the kettle cool and then add 25g of citric acid and juice of a lemon. Cover the kettle with a lid and leave in room temperature overnight (12h). The next day, place your washed bottles in cold oven and heat them in 125C for 15 minutes. Dipp the seals and corks in boiling water. Strain the juice mixture. In addition to strainer, filter the juice through a sterilized muslin bag and finally press all the juice from the leaves. Add sugar and slowly bring the juice cordial to boil (takes 15-20 minutes). When bubbles hit the surface, remove the kettle from the stove. Bottle the hot cordial (not boiling) to hot bottles. Leave little air in the bottles and close them immediately. Leave the bottles to cool in room temperature, then transfer to fridge. The cordial will keep 3-4 months in fridge.
2 litres blackcurrant leaves
What if I don’t have citric acid?
Citric acid enhances the blackcurrant leaf flavor and preserve the juice longer. If you don’t have citric acid, I suggest you add extra lemon and freeze the cordial in suitable containers/bottles.
Did you know you can also make blackcurrant leaf sparkling?
Homemade blackcurrant leaf sparkling is prepared in similar manner as sima (find the fermenting method here in my May post). This Finnish bubbly summer drink is called ‘Louhisaari drink’ after the 17th century manor where president Mannerheim was born and who as a gourmand man made the drink famous (the original recipe reference here in Finnish). This summer I took the shortcut and just mix the blackcurrant leaf cordial with bubbly water with a stronger ratio. Kippis and cheers!
This is a good classic recipe to get to know blackcurrant leaf juice. I love it in this simplest form but I’ve also made combinations with mint leaves and fresh rosemary. Now I’ll give this recipe to you & hope you’ll get creative with it.