Now I’m not suggesting that you dangle out of trees at the side of the road or trespass onto farmer’s fields to loot from their hedgerows, but if you can get hold of a few heads of Elderflower, then do!! It is in season in the UK and it’s free!!
You’ve probably seen alot of elderflower at the side of railway tracks and motorways, it’s incredible that something so sweet smelling and delicate can survive in such harsh environments, but it does. Unfortunately this isn’t the best stuff to use. You can rinse the flowers to remove fumes and dirt but if you can, try to find some a little way away from the road etc. I collected my Elderflower whilst on a walk. It was growing in abundance at the side of a public footpath and an armful came home with me.
Most elderflower recipes give you the number of flower heads you will need. This always confuses me as some flower heads are tiny, some huge and plus I always lose count of how many I’ve…er…de-flowered, if you like! So I’ve given you a weight, so there’s no confusion.
This is just a small batch recipe and it doesn’t include citric acid like most. The reason it doesn’t include citric acid is because I had run out and so went to get some from my local Chemist, who reliably informed me that they don’t stock it anymore because heroin users kept purchasing it and they want no part in all that :-/
If you can find some citric acid and you aren’t a heroin user, add 25 grams to this recipe and it should keep for a few weeks longer. I would definitely recommend doing this if you’re going to multiply the recipe and make a larger amount.
Elderflowers have large creamy white flower heads with 5 white petals and the leaves have teeth.
Choose fully opened flower heads that aren’t too old (older flowers may have brown edges and they don’t smell very nice) and make sure you’ll leave some for wildlife and other foragers.
This makes a small batch of around 600-700ml depending on how much you spill (I spilt a whole lot!). My Auntie Liz has a pub and very kindly saved some of their small individual bottles of wine (empty of course) and this year this recipe made around 3 1/2 of these bottles, despite my spillage.
You Will Need:
120g elderflowers (weighed once removed from stalks) This will be between 20 and 30 flower heads depending on size
500 ml boiled water
450g caster sugar
- Add the sugar to the boiled water in a large pan.
- Stir until the sugar dissolves and allow to cool completely
- Shake each flower head to remove bugs.
- Strip the flowers from the stalks. You don’t have to be too precious about this but the stalks aren’t good for you so get rid of as much as you can.
- Weigh the flowers.
- Lay the flowers in a sieve and rinse well with cold water.
- Slice your lemons and add to the syrup.
- Once the syrup mixture is cool add the flowers.
- Stir the whole mixture, cover and leave in the fridge.
- You need to let the mixture infuse for 3 days, stirring a couple of times a day.
- After the three days, take a sieve and lay a clean tea towel or a piece of kitchen roll inside it.
- Pour the mixture through into another bowl. You might like to leave the whole lot in the fridge for a few hours to drip through.
- Clean and rinse your glass bottles/jars and allow to cool in a hot oven (put the containers in when the oven is cold and then turn the heat on).
- Use a funnel to pour the mixture into the containers.
- Allow to cool, label and refrigerate.
- Your cordial/syrup should keep well in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. If you like, you can freeze the mixture in ice cube trays which will make it last much longer.
Elderflower cordial/syrup is delicious added to ice cream recipes, apple juice, lemonade, champagne and jelly/jello to name just a few things.