Friends of ours have offered me elderberries for the last several years to no avail. For one reason or another, I couldn’t get there to pick them during their harvest time. This year, I asked if I could pick the elderflower, instead of the fruit.
Elderflower evoke visions of a lace and wicker picnic complete with wine goblets and fresh strawberries.
Clearly, I’ve read too many Jane Austen novels! The blossoms are a glorious cluster of creamy white stars on long slender stems. They’re simple to harvest; a pair of kitchen scissors, a basket and ten minutes of cutting time. Elderflower cordial is just as easy to make. It takes twenty-four hours to steep, so give yourself a couple of days before you want to serve it. Once done, the cordial will keep in your fridge for months or you can freeze it. This is a drink worthy of Mr. Darcy!
ELDERFLOWER CORDIAL – makes 1 litre
- 18 heads of elderflower
- 500 g sugar, use a scale to weigh the sugar
- 2 lemons
- Check the elderflower well, to get rid of any bugs. Don’t rinse them or you will lose the precious pollen.
- Place the sugar and 1 litre of water in a large sauce pan.
- Gently bring to the boil, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Remove from heat.
- Finely grate the lemon zest from one lemon, then juice it. Add juice and lemon zest to sugar mixture.
- Slice the second lemon and add to sugar mixture.
- Add the elderflower heads down, making sure the flowers are completely submerged.
- Cover the pot and set aside for 24 hours to infuse.
- After 24 hours, line a fine sieve with cheesecloth over a large bowl and pour the cordial slowly through.
- Store in sterilized jars.
- Serve diluted with water, soda or my favourite Prosecco.
THE LOVE: If you missed a bug, not to worry, bugs float in liquid so any escapee will come to the surface in the syrup. Just pick it out.
Thanks for reading.