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Apple and Blackberry Cordial recipe

Photo: Blackberries in a jug

Photo: Blackberries in a jug

2009 is a great year for blackberries. We have loads in our garden and I’m bottling them and processing them for winter. I’ve also become very interested in cordials. Danny has started using my Lemon and Elderflower cordial instead of white wine in cooking. I reckoned that Blackberry and Apple cordial  and a Wild Plum cordial would appeal to him.

Deep into Oded Scwartz’s Preserving I read his words on making cordial, “Boil for just 4-5 minutes as you don’t want to turn it into jelly.” Basically making cordial is very easy – it’s just like making jelly but is boiled for less time.

How about making some cordial and some jelly and some fruit cheese/butter with the fruit pulp. This would get the maximum return from the fruit with very little waste. So I did that and this recipe returned one 500 ml bottle of cordial, seven 50 cl jars of Bramble Jelly and four 75 cl jars of Blackberry and Apple cheese.

Apple and Blackberry Cordial recipe


  • 1 kilo of eating apples (windfalls would do – any bad bits removed)
  • 500g of blackberries
  • The juice of one lemon
  • Water
  • White granulated sugar (the amount depends on the volume of juice extracted from the simmered, drained fruit. 500ml of juice to 400gms of sugar.
  • Wash the apples, cut out bruised bits and chop roughly. There is no need to peel and core the apples.
  • Pick over the blackberries, reject any that are tatty and remove any stalks. Soak them in a bowl of water with a sprinkle of salt – this draws out any wildlife. Rinse well.
  • Place fruit in a large deep heavy bottomed saucepan, or preserving pan. Add water to cover ½ of the fruit.
  • Bring slowly to the boil and simmer very gently until all the fruit is soft and squishy. This takes about 15 minutes, depending on how ripe the fruit is.
  • Add the lemon juice
  • Pour the cooked fruit into a jelly bag and leave to drip into a bowl overnight. (What is a jelly bag? See tips and tricks below). This is traditionally a piece of sterilised muslin. (How do I sterilise muslin? See tips and tricks below). We use tall buckets to catch the drips from the jelly bags. Rather than hang the bags (conventional method) I find it easier to line a large plastic sieve with the muslin. This clips neatly onto the top of a clean bucket. The sieve is covered with a clean tea cloth to protect against flies.
  • The next day, measure the extracted fruit juice and pour it into a deep heavy bottomed saucepan. Add 400g of white granulated sugar for each 500ml of juice. Try to avoid squeezing the jelly bag as this can make the jelly cloudy.
  • Heat the juice and sugar gently, stirring from time to time. Make sure that that all the sugar has dissolved before bringing the liquid slowly to the boil. Continue to boil hard for just 5 minutes. Pour into warm sterilised bottles using a funnel and ladle and secure the caps immediately. (How do I sterilise bottles? See tips and tricks below).
  • Dilute with iced water to serve.

Tips and tricks:

  • Use small bottles (we use recycled vinegar bottles) as it only keeps for a week or so once opened. If you don’t want to use bottles the syrup can be frozen in cubes.
    How do I sterilise a jelly bag or muslin square?
  • Both can be scalded with boiling water. If you are using a clean muslin bag or square you can iron them with a hot iron. This also works with tea cloths.


    How do I sterilise bottles?

    The sterilising method that we used is simple. Just before making the syrup, I quickly wash and rinse the bottles and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160c (140c fan-assisted). When the oven has reached the right temperature I turn off the heat. The bottles will stay warm for quite a while. Sterilise the lids by boiling these for a few minutes in water.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Fiona

    You press the fruit through a sieve. I use this recipe for all my fruit cheeses these days – equal volume of pulp to sugar

  2. hi there, just in process of making my very first batch of cordial. I’ve got loads of fruit left in my muslin and want to make the cheese. Do I push all this fruit through the sieve and then weigh the pulp or just use the fruit as it is. Sorry to sound really thick, but don’t want to waste anything. Thanks.

  3. Thank you, will give it a go tomorrow.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Nicola

    The cheese will keep for at least a year – stored in a cool, dark, dry place. There are recipes for jam and jelly on this site.

  5. Hello, I’m new to this site, and fairly new to preserving ect.
    I’m in the process of making both apple and blackberry wines. Was thinking of making jam/jelly with the remaining fruit, then maybe some cheese as I’ve never tried it before.
    Could you please tell me how long the cheese will keep?
    Thank you

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Linda

    I only learn’t about using the pulp a few years ago and wouldn’t have believed how delicious fruit cheese can be.

    Jellies, jams, chutney, pickles and marmalade are not traditionally water bathed in the UK.But they don’t have such a long shelf life as water bathed preserves. Although bottled/canned fruit and vegetables are.
    Sometimes if I want to extend the life of something rare and special, I might water bath it.

    I do water bath/heat process my cordials – just incase.

    I’m always very careful about sterilising all jars, lids etc.

    Hi Trish

    Cordials are so easy to make and so expensive to buy! We use them a lot in cooking too.

  7. Your cordial sounds lovely. I hadn’t thought of that! Thanks! We have had a ton of blackberries too.
    Your blog is fab, keep up the good work. Hope you are feeling better soon. x

  8. Hi Fiona
    Sorry to hear that you are laid up still! Thanks for answering too. Turned out the blackberries were frozen blueberries! But I have blackberry in the freezer already.
    I can’t help but notice how food preservation differs in the U.S from overseas! For example, I am not to use windfall apples for preserving (we would make applesauce with apples or pie to eat immediately), only perfect ones. I am not to skip the water bath sealing unless I refrigerate and eat in a short time (noticed in your jelly recipe that you don’t do this). I have rarely come across a recipe that uses pulp for something else either. What a waste! Thanks so much!

  9. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Linda

    Frozen blackberries would be fine.

    Fruit cheese is well worth making. I usually make it the next day or freeze the pulp to make at a later date.

    Questions are always fine! Still laid up.

  10. Hi Fiona
    I am about to embark on this recipe so thank you for sharing it. I have some windfall apples but the blackberries I was expecting from a neighbor arrived frozen. I can’t think that this will be a bad thing though….do you know?
    Also, in the U.S. fruit cheese is a rarity. I would love to make some with the remains of the cordial. Can the pulp be held over for the next day if refrigerated before I begin?
    I am full of questions today! I hope that I’m not being a bother and also hope that you are well.

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