Lucky me! I found some unadulterated elderflowers flourishing in the wild. No pesticides. No traffic pollution. Just a plentiful supply of bushes in full flower. How heady the scent, even the the wide open space!
Faced with such a gift, the only sensible thing to do is make cordial!
My little recipe is as follows –
15 heads of elderflowers (as fresh as possible, keep them upright while you harvest to keep as much of the pollen for flavour)
500g caster sugar
1l of water
2 unwaxed lemons
4 tbs runny honey (local if you can get it)
- Add the sugar and honey to the water in a large cauldron/pan
- Slowly bring the sweet mixture to the boil until the sugars have dissolved
- Remove from the heat and add the zest and juice of one lemon and slice the other lemon and add to the pan.
- After carefully debugging the flowers, add them to the mixture, heads down and make sure they are submerged.
The next step is when the magic happens.
5. Cover the cauldron/pan and leave the mixture to come to its senses for the next 24 hours
The next day you will need some sterilised bottles or jars and a sterile jam bag and stand. A muslin cloth and colander would do the job if you don’t have jam making kit to hand.
Tip the contents of the cauldron/pan into the sieving apparatus and leave to drip through to a clean pan.
Decant into your chosen vessels, label and get ready for some lovely summer-flavoured drinks.
You can dilute the cordial with still or sparkling water. My favourite is to add a little cordial to a champagne flute and dilute with chilled prosecco.