At last summer’s here and since the month of June I have enjoyed foraging for Elderflower heads, then this month for cherries. I have my eyes peeled for the ripening rosehips, the wild plums, elderberries, blackberries of course and hazel, cobs, sweet chestnuts and if I’m lucky I’ll get a small harvest of green walnuts. I’ll add my garden herbs to nuts to make pesto and make cordials, cakes and coulis with my fruit harvest.
So far I’ve made wonderful Elderflower cordial, which is delicious poured over ice with water, amazing drizzled over strawberries as an alternative to dairy options and sublime with a measure of dry gin, natural tonic water and ice.
Note, I used the Belvoir bottle but my cordial is not as sweet, it has a hint of rose water and is gently refreshing.
2.5 litres cold water
4 unwaxed lemons
20 or so freshly gathered healthy elderflower heads
2 tablespoons of rose water (optional)
50 grams citric acid( from chemists or jam making shelf)
1 Campden tablet (from brewing shops or ddepartments)
You will need a very large saucepan, a bucket with a lid, a washing up bowl, wooden spoon, a clean tea towel, two litre bottles with lids and a half litre bottle and a lemon zester.
1. Put sugar and water Iinto the pan and gently heat without boiling until the sugar has dissolved. Sir now and again.
2. Pare the zest from the lemons then slice the lemons Iinto rounds.
3. Add the rose water, stir then bring the syrup to boil, then turn off the heat.
4. Fill the washing up bowl with cold water and gently give the heads a clean. Discard any dried up looking flowers.
5. Shake off the water.
6. Put the cooled syrup into the bucket or tub and add the elderflowers, sliced lemons, citric acid and the crushed campden tablet as well as the lemon zest.
7. Stir put the lid on and leave for at least 24 hours. I left mine for 3 days stirring occasionally.
8. Line a colander with a clean teatowel and sit over a large bowl or pan.
9. Let the syrup drip through slowly, enjoying the aroma.
10. Discard the bits in the towel.
11. Using a small funnel pour your cordial into clean sterilised bottles.
12. Put in the fridge.
13. Will keep for a few weeks. Enjoy!