Elderflower Foraging

For years I’ve looked at the elderflowers coming into bloom over the fence and thought, “I could do something with those…” – but I haven’t…until this year. I’m retired, no excuses!

There was an elderflower cordial recipe in the newspaper one morning. It looked as easy as the lemonade I’ve been making, so out came the ladder.

Twelve flower heads were required, which was easy enough. The recipe had a choice of honey or raw sugar to sweeten, and I opted for the honey. The result was quite watery rather than syrupy and a little disappointing. It needed lemonade to add body to it. I bottled it and made labels. Family enjoyed it.

There were still many elderflower heads temptingly left on the trees. I searched the internet for other recipes and settled on a Jamie Oliver one, having had success with his mulled wine. I needed a longer ladder this time.

This recipe required me to steep the sugar and honey mix, lemon and elderflower for 24 hours. It filled the house with its summery aroma and I was filled with the good feeling of having used a foraged main ingredient and lemons from my garden.

The result was much more acceptable than the first batch. I gave three bottles of straight cordial to my card-playing friends and made an elderflower gin cocktail mix to take to my book group.

This is the quintessential summer drink, and it was appropriate that the book we discussed was Ali Smith’s Summer.