Friday, October 05, 2007

Can You Tell the Difference?

The following two recipes are similar, using different proportions and resting times. Drunk in times past to soothe a sore throat. Have myself found raspberry vinegar a credible substitute for balsamic vinegar. Diluted with soda water or lemonade it makes a most refreshing drink.
Raspberry Vinegar (1):
2 1/2lb fresh (or frozen/thawed) raspberries
1 pint vinegar
Crush the fruit well and add the vinegar. Leave to stand for 3 days, stirring well at intervals. Strain and add 1 lb sugar to each pint of the liquid. Bring to the boil, simmer for 20 minutes then pour into hot, dry, sterilised bottles. Store in a dark place. Will keep for some months.
Note: Instead of raspberries, use blackcurrants.

Raspberry Vinegar (2):
1 1/2 lb raspberries
1 pint white wine vinegar
Put the raspberries and vinegar into a jar, cover and leave in a cool place for two weeks. Stir daily. Strain, and to every pint of juice add 1 lb sugar. Boil for 12 minutes, then - when cold - bottle. Stir a spoonful into a glass of iced water on a hot summers day "and relax as your senses are refreshed by the aroma, colour and flavour of this delightfully English beverage".

This final recipe does not mention sterilising after making, and it states it has been made in the same family for well over a hundred years. Many of these recipes seem more like jam recipes than cordials, but I suppose they know what they were doing. As it does not make a huge amount, I would imagine storing it in the fridge would be the best bet.
Elderberry Cordial:
2 1/2 lb elderberries
zest and juice of 2 lemons
8 oz preserving sugar*
Put the elderberries into a thick-based pan and heat gently with the juice of the lemons. When the fruit has softened, crush with a potato masher and add the sugar and lemon zest. Simmer until soft and pulpy. Strain and bottle.
The recipe quotes: "one or two tablespoons in a glass of hot water makes a soothing drink in cases of colds and chills" followed by a comment from someone: "it is even more enjoyable if a spoonful of honey is dissolved in the hot water before the cordial is added".
Note: *There must be a reason to use preserving sugar, perhaps for clarity, certainly ease of dissolving which helps to prevent it burning on the base of the pan. DO NOT mistake this for JAM SUGAR which contains pectin, to be used only when making jam.