The elderflowers are still in bloom and, if you’re quick, you’ll be able to pick them and make one or more of these fabulous recipes below. You should ideally pick the heads once they have been warmed by the sun.
Elderflower Champagne (thank you Pat Siddons)
4.5 litres of water
700 grams caster sugar
20 elderflower heads
2 lemons zested and grated
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
WARNING: You will need strong glass or plastic bottles with champagne tops – plastic might be better as the pressure from fermentation builds up and they can pop or explode if the pressure isn’t released occasionally! With plastic you can squeeze them to see if the pressure is building up,
- Dissolve the sugar in the water and then add another 1.5 litres of water.
- Add the elderflower heads, lemon juice and zest and vinegar.
- Cover the mixing pan or bucket with a clean muslin.
- Leave in a cool, airy place for two days.
- If not fermenting, add a pinch of dried yeast and leave another 4 days.
- Strain through sieve lined with muslin and pour into the bottles.
- Seal and leave for at least a week before serving chilled.
Bottles will keep for a few months in cool dry place.
Elderflower and rose scented jelly/jam (thank you Kate Butler)
500g granulated sugar
500g natural apple juice (no added sugar if possible, or make your own)
1 washed sliced lemon
A handful of scented rose petals
A handful of elderflowers, picked from stems.
- Soak picked flowers in lemon and apple juice for at least 24 hours.
- Strain juice into a heavy bottomed pan and add sugar.
- Allow sugar to melt gently over a low heat then bring to the boil and boil for approx 5 to 10 mins (it really depends on your apple juice as it contains natural pectin).
- Pour into sterilised jars.
- Put lids on jars and turn over for five minutes.
Elderflower Cordial (thanks to my father for this family recipe, which he has made every year for most of my life!)
50 Elderflower heads rinsed thoroughly
4 oranges, sliced thinly
1 lemon sliced thinly
2oz citric acid (you can buy this from a chemist)
3 pints cooled boiled water
- Place all the ingredients in a bowl/saucepan (you need to be able to cover it with a lid or cling film otherwise you will get tiny sugar flies in it).
- Leave for 48 hours mashing the contents 3-4 times a day.
- Strain through a muslin or sieve into freezer containers (if you want to freeze it) or jugs/bottles if you plan to use it quickly (keep it in the fridge).