I love the phrase “if it grows together it goes together”. Right now on the farm we have wild blackberries, mulberries and elderflowers popping up all over the farm and I am scurrying around trying to pick them before the birds do. I often find myself quietly talking to myself as I pick them. More of a “not on my watch” birds kind of thing.
I have scoured all over the property and was able to snagged most of our blackberries before the birds but I’m afraid they’ve beat me to it with the mulberries. We have three mulberry trees on the property and the trees were stripped of berries before they could even ripen.
Elderflowers grow like crazy in our area. I see them all the time as I’m driving into work. (note: Don’t pick ones off the sides of busy roads because the delicate flowers could be filled with car/truck exhaust) (yuck).
However in the outskirts of woods and in my backyard we have a few beautiful ones growing. The trick is to snip them off right in the morning as they are in full bloom. They flowers fade quickly so keep a close eye on the plant to get the most blooms at once.
The recipe for this is simple really, sugar, lemon and flowers.
When you clean the flowers lightly rinse under cold water but do not soak. The flavor is in the pollen and you don’t want to wash it all away. Also try to trim off as much of the stems as possible. You want those tiny white flowers and too much of the stems can be toxic (even though we are not actually eating them) You can see how much stem I have in some of the cut flower photos.
You don’t want to strip the plant of all the blooms either because you will eventually get elderberries on the plant. For this recipe I collected about 25 heads of blooms and it was more than enough to make four large jars of elderflower cordial. This can be used in cocktails, syrups, desserts and even this jam! This makes a large batch of about 4 jars and will keep up to 6 months in your refrigerator.
warning this recipe uses a lot of sugar but it makes a ton. This batch made about 4 liters. Which…. we’ll be drinking for a while. But it’s always fun to give away to friends and family.
5.5 lbs of sugar
2 large lemons
1/4 cup of citric acid
25 elderflower blooms
- Gently rinse the flowers under cold water briefly. In a large saucepan (I used my dutch oven) slowly heat the 4 cups of water and the 5.5 lbs of sugar together until the sugar has dissolved. Zest the lemons into the sugar and water mixture. Slice the lemons after they’ve been zested.
- Bring to a boil for a minute or two and then remove from heat. Stir in your rinsed elderflower blooms, citric acid and lemon slices. Cover and let sit on the counter for 24 hours.
- The next day, slowly pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Discard blooms, lemons etc. Pour through Sieve again or line a colander with cheese cloth and let the syrup drip through. Pour into clean and sterilized jars. This cordial will keep in the fridge for 6 weeks or it can also be frozen.
Recipe adapted from BBCGoodFood.com which has a bunch of fun ways to use this syrup.