This time of year the hedges are sprinkled with unfurling, creamy-white elderflowers. One of my favourite sources of free food- no air miles or packaging involved, just a short trip to the nearest hedgerow with a pair of secateurs in hand. For a lovely summers drink they are the base ingredient of a very tasty cordial.
To make cordial you need
20 elderflower heads,
3lbs of sugar,
2 pts boiling water,
juice of 2 lemons and zest of 1 lemon.
Place the flowers in a large bowl or saucepan, add the sugar and then pour over the boiling water with the lemon juice and zest. Cover and leave overnight.
Next day sterilize your bottles. Then strain the liquid through some muslin and bottle it. The sealed bottles will keep in a cool place for a few months and once opened, store in the fridge and use within a week.
Perfect for diluting with ice cold sparkling mineral water and sipping in the garden on a sunny June day. I often use the cordial to flavour my gooseberry jam – the flavours combine nicely. It freezes well for a late summer or Christmas treat.
Elderflowers are traditionally used as natural remedy for catarrh and for the treatment of respiratory infections. You can make fritters from them or add a few blossoms to cakes and muffins making them taste and smell delicious. I’ll definitely be experimenting a bit more with them and reporting back.
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