A lot of what we make is seasonal and in May every year we can be found been wondering around with our eyes firmly fixed on the greenery rather than where we’re going and hoping above hope that it’s not only us that missed this years elderflowers… then, finally they all arrive. Loads of them. A bit like buses (and men), but with a much nicer smell…
Once they’re here we get busy making our Coxy’s Elderflower and Honey Liqueur and MightyFineThings Elderflower Vinegar – and, for good measure, Elderflower Syrup to use when we do bars.
Elderflower Syrup is great in champagne or prosecco and in gin or vodka cocktails and it is a joy to make, filling the kitchen with spring like smells and the promise of long iced drinks and cocktails! If you want to make your own, here’s the recipe…
First off get your elderflowers.
You need about 10 elderflower heads – get them when they’re nice and creamy and fresh looking, just when the bud has burst into flower and they’re smelling really, well elderflowery… (first thing in the morning on a sunny day is good). Give them a good shake to get rid of any insects and, whatever you do, don’t wash them – it gets rid of all the flavour and aromas you want to keep. Then snip the little flower heads off to get rid of stalks (which are not so tasty).
You will also need:
- the juice and zest of a nice big unwaxed lemon (smaller supermarket ones will do but give them a scrub to get the wax off before you use them and use a couple)
- 900g of sugar
- 45g of citric acid – this can be a nightmare to find. Your best bet is a home brew shop.
- 600ml water
- Put water & sugar into a saucepan and put on the heat. Bring to the boil then simmer until all the sugar is dissolved – keep stirring it while this is going on. Check whether the sugar is dissolved by taking the spoon out and seeing if there are any grains on the back of it.
- Remove from heat & leave to cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Add all the other stuff – elderflowers, sugar, lemon juice & zest & citric acid.
- Put a lid on and, if you can, leave overnight – or for eight hours minimum – to get the full flavour.
- Pour through a sieve to get rid of plant life.
- Pour into a bottle and start enjoying!
Probably best kept in the fridge – will keep for at least a month and have had some that kept for a year – and it freezes well…