"Tonight I must have half an hour to pick the currants (white/red/black) otherwise I'll miss them."
So Danny volunteered to cook the vegetables and I sauntered down to the currant and gooseberry patch with a large trug.
There was a reasonable harvest from the white currant bush. Just enough to make one bottle of white currant vodka. The dessert gooseberry bush had three berries and I counted less than a hundred redcurrant berries. Suddenly I saw a large bunch hanging on a branch. My heart sank when I realised it was just the picture on the label that still hung on the bush.
By this stage I sensed that the blackcurrant harvest might be sparse. I struggled to find a handful. Only a week ago the bushes were full of pendulous bunches of fruit, hanging like chandeliers in a retro lighting showroom. What had gone wrong?
Then I noticed that the earth beneath my feet felt well turned and springy. Birds might be excluded by the netting but creatures can that dig under the nets clearly have an easy entrance. The Great Escape in reverse. I don't know what animal it is exactly - moles, mice, rats or maybe Danny. Clearly I'm providing a lot of the village wildlife with their five a day.
We have a large wild blackcurrant bush that self seeded in the rose border about five years ago. The fruit of this bush is usually my annual present to the birds. It has a spread of at least eight feet and is impossible to net.
Thinking of the three litres of cheap vodka waiting to be turned into something amazing, I secured the fruit cage door and sped off to examine the wild blackcurrant bush. I was surprised to find that it had quite a bit of fruit. Some fruit had even dried on the stems. Clearly the Wildlife Special Branch had concentrated so hard on infiltrating the fruit cage that they'd forgotten my gift to the nation. So I stole their fruit. And I didn't feel guilty at all.
I picked and picked and made my first batch of blackcurrant vodka tonight, using Clare's link to this Danish Blackcurrant Schnapps recipe. Usually I add sugar to my fruit vodka so I'll be interested to see how it turns out.
I reckon that this recipe is a winner as it explains how to tinker with the schnapps to get it exactly how you'd like it to taste and that's the art of liqueur making.
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