Amazing blackcurrant sorbet

Working for oneself has its ups and downs.  Sunny days often lead to cancellations in my clinic – I understand, who wants to see a dietitian on a hot day when you’re eating lots of salad, drinking plenty of water and very excited about exercising?  It’s all good. Today was probably one of the hottest we’ve had this year.  Everyone cancelled! At the moment, I’m really limited to catching up on weeding, harvesting, preserving in the long evenings.  The silver lining to my many cancellations was I got to spend the whole day between the garden and the kitchen!

We’ve gone past strawberries – the freezer is stocked with frozen whole strawberries, strawberry puree and I have jars of strawberry jam in the press.  It was time, the head gardener told me yesterday, to pull out the strawberry plants in one of my beds.  This is their second year to fruit.  Last year we took ‘runners’ off them – a process of potting the rooting part of the long tendrils strawberry plants send out after fruiting.  The runner, after taking root in a small pot of compost left under it, is then separated from the mother plant.  It can be planted (around September) into a fresh bed for fruiting the following summer and left there for 2-3 years, providing runners if required every year.  Today I dug out the strawberries before they started sending out runners.  They will be discarded.  You’ll see me below in the Massey Ferguson 135, which I haven’t driven for quite a while – a real treasure to the head gardener.

MF 135 & ME

To be taken away

Blackcurrants, raspberries and red currants have followed the strawberries.  Our blackcurrants are really at their best now.  I picked 6lb of them and decided to make the most amazing blackcurrant sorbet with 4lb and jam with the rest.  This sorbet is one of the best things to do with any soft fruit as far as I’m concerned.  It comes from a recipe in Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course Book and ascribed to Julia Wright. If you have blackcurrants make it!  It’s so beautiful and a great way to capture summer.

Blend 4lb blackcurrants in a food processor until you have a rough puree.

Pass the puree through a nylon sieve in batches, pushing it around the sieve with a rubber spatula.  This will take a while…..for 4lb maybe 20 minutes!

Now take 1.5 lb caster sugar and stir it into the smooth blackcurrant puree until it has dissolved.

Pour the mixture into an ice-cream machine and churn until set before freezing.  You can also just put it into a lunchbox and into the freezer – take it out to mix every 30 minutes for a couple of hours to prevent any ice crystals forming.

This is the time of year I relieve my presses of all the old jars & cleaned out cream-cheese containers and congratulate myself for being such a good hoarder.

This needs no accompiament – eat it all by itself.

You might be wondering what to do with the lovely pulp you have leftover.  I thought the same.  I still had 2lb blackcurrants, as well as 1.5lb fresh raspberries that I picked at the same time.  I love raspberry jam but made some a couple of evenings ago.

For this Blackcurrant & Raspberry Jam mix:

2lb fresh blackcurrants with 2lb blackcurrant pulp (that’s what it weighed) and 2 pints of water.  Bring to the boil and simmer until the blackcurrants just burst. Add  1.5lb raspberries and cook for less than 5 minutes. Next in is the sugar – 5lb of it – with a good stir so it all dissolves.  And bring to a good boil for at least 20 minutes.  Then it’s time to start checking for set – spoon some jam onto a cold plate and place in the fridge for a few minutes to cool.  Run your finger up the cooled jam – does it wrinkle?  That indicates setting point.  It should show a good wrinkling skin.  By this point your clean jars should be in the oven sterilising.  I boil the lids for a couple of minutes too.  At setting point, ladle the hot jam into a jug and pour into the hot jars. Seal, label and store for winter!

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