Elderflowers Mean Summer

elderflower_cordialWith the cold spring weather some things have been very late getting going, and it has seemed a long wait for the elder to flower around here, but this weekend there were finally enough creamy heads around that when the sun came out for a bit we skipped off down the lane to pick a load to make elderflower cordial. This is something I always try to do as it is such an easy cordial and yet it really tastes good. Everyone seems to have a different recipe for this. My recipe comes from a BBC book called “Fruity Passions” which went with a series in the eighties, mostly about wine making! (We have tried quite a few of the wine recipes too over the years) As with most things I do, the original recipe has been modified to fit what I’ve got in. Basically you steep about 25 flower heads in 1.5litres of cold water, 250ml orange juice, a couple of lemons thinly and 1.5kg of white sugar. I also add about 15g of tartaric acid if I’ve got it, this year the tartaric acid was not enough so I added a bit of citric acid too. You can get acids from health food shops or wine making suppliers.elderflower_on_bush_large The whole mix just sits on the counter for a day, filling the kitchen with wafts of perfume that sum up summer for me. After 24hours you strain the liquid through muslin, or a fine sieve and bottle. I usually freeze a few pots for when I need a lift later in the year. Sometimes it can be a little sweet, but if you pop a few slices of lemon and some ice in a jug, add cordial and fizzy water to taste, it is a drink we can all enjoy. Summer is here.

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