Elderflower bliss…

20 Jun

There’s something about the scent of Elderflower that delivers up summer sunshine even when it’s raining. The heady perfume is divine, quite literally bottled, as a cordial. Dilute for your small ones with sparkling water and for your big ones, dilute with Cava. This cordial is great for drinking outdoors with lots of barbecued chicken and thirsty friends. Alternatively, as we live in Blighty with the most unpredictable weather, serve indoors with grilled chicken Caesar salad and aforementioned friends!

Gather your flower heads, away from smelly roadsides if possible. This is a great excuse for some family foraging but hurry, because the flowers don’t hang around for long, especially with the very wet and windy weather we’ve had over the last few days. Once picked tap the heads gently as Elderflower is a favourite with creepy crawlies. (Do not do as I did, and shake the heads indoors, as I spent the rest of my evening gathering up spiders, beetles and some weird midgy things from all over my kitchen.)

You will need:

25-35 elderflower heads, strip off the large stems
1kg Caster sugar
50g Acetic acid (ask your pharmacist for this)
3/4 Lemons sliced
1.5 litres water
A large bowl to put everything in

  • Add your sugar to 1.5 litres boiling water, stir to dissolve thoroughly
  • Once this is cooled stir in the acetic acid
  • Add your elderflower heads, pushing into the syrup mix
  • Add your sliced lemons and again push ingredients down into the liquid so they are submerged.
  • Cover with a tea towel and leave in a cool dark place for at least 2 days. If you can wait longer do as the flavour will intensify
  • When it’s ready strain the mixture through a fine tea towel or piece of muslin. Cover until you are ready to use
  • Prepare your bottles for the cordial by sterilizing
  • Heat oven to 100C/0.5 Gas mark
  • Wash bottles and rinse thoroughly, pour in boiling water, tip away and then lie on their side in oven
  • Leave in oven for 15mins.
  • Turn off oven and leave bottles until cold
  • Using a funnel pour the cordial into the bottles, seal, and ideally store in the fridge.

    Bottled nectar

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