Have you seen those beautiful flowering currants growing in the gorgeous spring sunshine? Between mid-March and May, you may be able to spot these bright clusters of flowers - Flowering Currant (or Ribes Sanguineum) is very hard to mistake for any other flower at this time!
The individual flowers have 5 petals and they smell very strong (sometimes like sage, sometimes floral and sometimes even like ... cat wee as some have described!!) and multiple flowers make up each drooping cluster.
We found these whilst out for a walk a few days ago, they were scattered in patches in the beautiful woodland round the corner from our home.
Only ever gather what you need and never more, the flowers are very important for pollinators so gather a few from each plant very sparingly (even if they are growing in your garden - don't be a pirate, never take them from anyone else's gardens even if they are drooping over a fence)
This recipe used one full cup measurement of the flowering clusters, but don't worry - you don't have to pick the flowers off (though they work beautifully in cake decoration or can be added to brighten up salads)
These wonderful offerings from nature don't have any known medicinal benefits (or adverse effects) but they make a deliciously refreshing cordial with water or floral replacement for simple syrups in cocktails.
What you will need:
A Cup Measure
A Sterilised Bottle
A Jelly-bag/Tights (clean and unused)
1 Cup of Sugar (I used white granulated)
1 Cup Flowering Currant Flowers
2 Cups Water
Optional - 1 or 2 Lemon Wedges
Making The Cordial:
1- Add the sugar and water to the pan and bring to a simmer, then immediately turn down the heat.
2- Once the sugar has dissolved, add the flowers and the lemon, if using. Keep the heat low - try not to allow to simmer once the flowers are in the pan**.
3- Keep the liquid gently heated for about an hour, or until the syrup starts to thicken slightly.
4- Once the mixture has thickened and taken on colour from the flowers**, you'll need your sterile bottle, jug and tights or jelly-bag. Pour the mixture through the tight or jelly-bag into the jug.
5- Use the precision of the jug to then transfer the mixture into your sterile bottle and seal... Cordial finished and ready to drink!
A properly sealed bottle should live in a dark dry cupboard for a few weeks and once opened, it should live in the fridge for a few days.
*I don't own a jelly-bag, but I do own unworn and clean tights! I never use muslin cloths anymore as they absorb too much liquid, even after straining and wringing them out!
**a little tip for better colour is to keep the heat as low as possible. If I've learnt anything from natural dyes and creating herbal remedies, it's that heat discolours plants very easily and it all goes brown! You'll notice I overheated mine a little, as it's more brown than I would have liked but it doesn't affect the flavour! It's more about the aesthetics.
Lyra&Atlas and owner Hayleigh Walker hope you enjoy this recipe and any other featured on this blog, but we are not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you try from www.lyraandatlas.com. Always use your best judgement with ingredients & storage and be aware that results can and may vary. Be aware of all heated surfaces and any sharp or dangerous instruments used when crafting these recipes.
Any medicinal mention is from my own research, knowledge or personal use and should not be taken as fact. Always do your own research and contact a trained herbalist and/or GP.