"While the blackcurrant blossom is just considering its change into berries, I’m eagerly picking the leaves. It can be hard to tell the black from the red from the white currants by sight, but if you rub them, blackcurrant leaves are thick, full and sweet in fragrance, and make my favourite sorbet, which can easily be twisted into lollipops, as my daughter insists I do."
Try these unusual ice lollies from our green-fingered foodie, Mark Diacono. Pinch a couple of handfuls of early leaves from across the whole bush, so as not to deplete any part of the plant. The summer and early autumn leaves are still good, but the May leaves are best. This also works well with elderflower and midsummer scented geranium leaves. This makes a fine sorbet, too – just pour the liquid into a plastic tub, freeze for a few hours, then whisk an egg white into the slush and freeze.
Blackcurrant leaf ice lollies
2 large handfuls of young blackcurrant leaves/a 500ml jugful, fairly tightly packed
700ml cold water
Juice of 3 lemons
1 Crush the blackcurrant leaves to help release the aroma and flavour by either squeezing them tightly in your hand or gently pounding with the end of a rolling pin.
2 Put them in a stainless steel saucepan with the water and sugar. Bring slowly just to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and simmer for 3 mins only.
3 Allow to completely cool.
4 Add the lemon juice, then strain. 5 Pour the juice into lollipop moulds and freeze.