Last year I made a delicately flavoured cordial from the flowers of the elder. The delicious syrup was used liberally for all sorts of sweet treats- in cakes, puddings (especially good in gooseberry crumble) and cocktails. As our hedges are once again heaving with the large fragrant blooms I’m inspired to find more uses for them. I have read about the skin toning and wound healing properties of elderflowers. Apparently they are rich in tannins which stimulate the epidermis and are said to be great for blemishes and dry skin. This sounds like just the ticket for my dodgy skin. And so, it brings me to a recipe of a topical kind: elderflower facial toner.
- Pick the flowers on a warm sunny day to ensure optimum nectar level.
- Handle them gently so as not to shake off too much nectar.
- Do not wash. Leave them sit for an hour or so to allow the creepies crawl away to safety.
Homemade elderflower skin toner
Pick about 15 heads. Remove as many as the stems from the little florettes as possible and place in a heatproof jug. Pour over about 300ml of boiling water (preferably filtered) and let sit for half an hour. Strain with muslin (I used a coffee filter) and decant into a clean sterilised bottle. I found my filter trapped a lot of pollen some of which I placed back into the bottle. After all, I’m guessing this is where a lot of goodness is. To ward away any bacteria I put a few drops of citricide grapefruit seed extract in it. Again, I’m not sure this is necessary as it is best stored in the fridge anyhow.
Apply the toner after washing your face. It smells a bit potent, not in an totally offensive way, but leaves my face feeling nourished and ever so soft. As for banishing the blemishes…well, we’ll just have to wait and see! If anyone else has tried it- I’d love to hear about it.