Jojo Tulloch's Blackcurrant Tea

One of the best things about preserving is that it provides a link between seasons. Blackcurrants picked the previous summer, when the leaves of the bush give off a warm musky scent and the fat dark berries are full of juice, make a very dark purple jelly with a firm set that is packed with high summer vitamin C. The first few jars will probably get eaten up immediately on toast but slide one to the back of the cupboard where it will wait quietly, until midwinter. Use it as a hot cordial, when throats are rasping and all the senses are crying out for sunshine.


Blackcurrant’s use as a medicinal plant goes back centuries. Geoffrey Grigson records in his Englishman’s Flora that wild blackcurrants, in the form of wine, jelly and syrup were used as a folk remedy for sore throats (the quinsy or squinancy) long before they took a place in the domestic garden. Blackcurrant tea crops up in Dorothy Wordsworth’s journals; she and Coleridge drink it after a blustery day out in the Lake District.


For the tea
1 scant tablespoon blackcurrant jelly per mug (see Jojo’s roasted blackcurrant jelly)

Boil the kettle and pour the just-boiled water over the jelly in the mug. Stir vigorously (don’t worry if you’re left with a few solid bits at the bottom).

To soothe a throat or clear a head cold drink as many cups as you need throughout the day.