We had the glory of another glut of juicy blackcurrants this summer, and, running out of creative ways to use them, I decided to knock up a batch of blackcurrant vinegar. Many fruit vinegar recipes seem to call for a HUGE amount of sugar, but as we predominantly would be using it for dressings and marinades, I cut the amount of sugar down to give a tarter, less syrupy liquid.
You can use either white wine vinegar, or cider vinegar, and I prefer to use light brown sugar for a more caramelly flavour. Once you have the proportion of fruit to vinegar nailed, you can use all sorts of soft fruits, from strawberries to blackberries.
600ml of white wine or cider vinegar
Wash the fruit and pick out any obvious stalks or leaves, then place in a ceramic bowl. Pour over the vinegar, cover and leave to macerate for 4-5 days, periodically giving them a but of a squish with a potato masher to help break up the fruit.
Strain through a scalded muslin, or, in my case, my mum’s sieve; try not squish the fruit too much, or you will end up with a cloudy vinegar. Pour the juice into a non-reactive saucepan, and add 175g for every 500ml of liquid. Place over a medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved, then boil for around ten minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then pour into warm, sterilized glass bottles or jars.
Quick blackcurrant vinegar salad dressing
⅔ cup of cold-pressed olive oil
⅓ cup of your precious home-made vinegar
2 tbsp of cold water
Place all ingredients in a jam jar, shake well and pour over your favourite rice salad! My son would literally drink this dressing neat out of a glass if left unsupervised, so we tend to dilute it with water and make it into squash!