There is an old overgrown cemetery behind my house that yields a veritable feast year round.
The patch of wild garlic we discovered last year has not yet come into full strength and the juicy early blackberries which rampage across the acres of Victorian gothicarama are three months away. But the best treat of all has just arrived – elderflowers!
Yesterday we gathered about 30 heads of elderflowers in bloom and made elderflower cordial so fragrant the entire house smelled of summer.
To make elderflower cordial…
- Trim off the biggest stalks and then shake the heads of the elderflowers to get any errant beasties out.
- Meanwhile add 2 kilos of sugar to 1.2 litres of water and bring to the boil to make a syrup.
- Zest a few lemons and limes, and slice them up and add them to the elderflowers. Then juice a few more lemons or limes and add the juice too. If you can get it, you can add ‘proper’ powdered citric acid from your chemist (most recipes call for 75g for this quantity of syrup) which will give you a sharper cordial, but you can get the same effect with lots of lemons! I used 4 limes and 1 giant lemon yesterday which is just enough, but I’ll be serving mine with a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Pour the sugar syrup over the mixture of elderflowers and lemony/limey goodness, cover and leave for 24hrs.
- Decant (great word!) into sterilised bottles and give to your eternally grateful family and friends. It’ll keep for 3 months, or 1 month in the fridge once it’s opened.
Not in this house though!