This intense, zingy reduction of sweetened blackberry juice with hints of lemon and ginger is a doddle to make, keeps well, and is very versatile. Use it as a cordial to mix with sparking water, or try it poured over ice cream, added to a salad dressing, folded into yoghurt or whipped cream to make a fool, or as a component in a blackberry-flavoured cocktail.
The most labour-intensive part of making the syrup – removing the seeds – requires a little patience, but is made much easier if you happen to have a mouli. This brilliantly low-tech gadget (a hand-cranked food mill, which simultaneously purées and strains as you rotate the handle) is an excellent bit of kit for anyone intending to process large quantities of seeded fruit in the preparation of ketchups, jellies, cheeses, curds and the like. As well making short work of removing pips and fibrous matter, a mouli is a much more effective at extracting every last drop of pulp than by spoon and sieve alone. If you can get your hands on one, fit the finest straining plate and work the cooked fruit sauce through, then simply strain the resulting syrup through a fine sieve before bottling.
- 350g blackberries
- 115g caster sugar
- 3 strips of pared lemon rind
- 2 slices of ginger, each about 0.5cm thick
- 125ml water
- Wash the blackberries, drain them, and put them in a non-reactive pan. Add the sugar, lemon rind and ginger, then pour over the water. Put the pan over the heat and bring gently to the boil. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the fruit is completely softened and the juices in the pan are beginning to thicken.
- After you’ve removed the lemon rind and ginger, the next step is to strain out the seeds. Either use a mouli (see note above) or set a sieve over a bowl and press the pulp through the mesh with a wooden spoon. Use a clean metal spoon to scrape down any thick pulp that clings to the outside of the sieve.
- Pour the syrup into a small sterilised bottle or jar, close the lid, and leave to cool. Stored in the refrigerator, it will keep for up to a month.