Every October I start looking out for the first elderflowers.
I just adore the sweetly scented bridal flowers.
They are also lovely medicinal plants- both the flowers & the berries being good medicine.
I am often drawn to posts with recipes for using the fragrant flowers, but when I look further I realise that they are really quite impractical- fritters & sugary cordials don't particularly work for me as useful food.
However, healing jellies & elderflower fizz certainly do!
So here is our simple little recipe for making both, in small batches, using 1 litre Agee or Mason jars.
As soon as the elders begin to flower we keep our eyes peeled for accessible bushes.
And gather just what we need- a little at a time.
This way we can make a dozen batches over the flowering season.
So- to a large Agee jar add 6-8 flower heads (no leaves & no washing- just shake the flowers out a little to dislodge any insects) & the juice of a lemon.
Add some lemon slices too, if you like.
Then pour boiling water over the flowers to fill the jar- once it's cooled a little, add a large tablespoon of honey. I'm sure you can use sugar if you like- dissolve it in to the hot liquid.Pop the lid on & leave to sit for 24- 48 hours.
Strain through a sieve & using a funnel fill a small grolsch (or similar) bottle.
Clip down the lid & leave for 3-7 days.
You can check on the fizz from time to time if you like- it'll re-carbonate itself.
Take care when you take the lid off as it can froth everywhere.
The fizz is created by the action of the natural yeasts & pollens in the flowers.
Adjust the amount of honey to taste.
Chill well before serving.
The other half of the strained liquid is what we use to make elderflower jellies.
The quantity left will fill two small (225ml) Agee or jam jars perfectly.
How to make the jelly:
In a small pot soak 2 level tsps of powdered gelatine in half a cup of the elderflower liquid.
Stir together & then leave to soak a few minutes.
Set over gentle heat & stir to dissolve the gelatine.
Cool, then and in the rest of the liquid.
Taste & add more lemon juice or more honey to taste.
Pour in to the two jars, pop on the lids & in to the fridge they go.
Makes a delicious breakfast or dessert. And best of all, is wonderfully healing & nourishing for the digestive system.