It’s elderflower season! And I am giddy from picking this free treasure. I love that even living in a heavily built up and busy city I managed to do a little foraging. These beauties were found by the canal in East London and I’ve been back twice since (I haven’t depleted the whole tree I promise). We’ve had a quiet couple of days after a heavy few weeks and this was perfectly calming and therapeutic. So, a short and simple blog post from me today, and appreciating these beautiful little flowers in all their glory.
Classic elderflower cordial calls for just caster sugar and lemons, however I love the subtle addition of honey.
- 15 heads of elderflower (be sure not to wash them, but do pick off any bugs)
- 500g caster sugar
- 4 tablespoons good quality runny honey
- 2 unwaxed lemons
Place the sugar and honey in a large saucepan and pour in 1l of water. Gently bring the liquid to the boil, until all the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat. Finely grate in the zest of the lemons and add the elderflower upside down, making sure the flowers are completely submerged. Squeeze in the juice from one of the lemons, then slice the other and add to the pan too. Pop the lid on and leave to one side to infuse for 24 hours.
When you are ready to strain your cordial line a fine sieve with muslin over a large bowl (if you don’t have muslin you can use good quality kitchen towel) and pour through the cordial. Store in sterilised bottles or jars and drink diluted with water, soda, prosecco… whatever you like! It is a sweet cordial, but not as sweet as the shop bought stuff so dilute to taste.
Makes 4 jellies
I made my jellies to taste. In a measuring jug mix together 200ml of the cordial and 350ml of water. Taste the mixture and tweak with a little more cordial/ water depending on how strong or weak you want your jelly. Place 4 leaves of gelatine in a bowl and cover in cold water for 5 minutes to soften. Again, this will depend on the make of gelatine you use, they vary. Check the packet to see how many gelatine leaves set around 600ml of liquid.
Place 50g caster sugar in a small saucepan with half of the diluted elderflower. Gently bring to the boil, dissolving the sugar and remove from the heat. Squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves and whisk into the hot elderflower until completely dissolved. Whisk in the remaining diluted cordial and then pour into 4 serving glasses. Pop in the fridge to set for 3 – 4 hours, then serve straight up or with summer berries.