Saturday, 20 June 2015

The Elder flower season has arrived

June means the start of the elder flower season it has to be one of the most useful flowers there is I would not want to miss out on them.
Hedge rows and waste land up and down the country have burst into frothy white bushes even the dullest bit of waste land is brightened up by them. They have such a wonderful sweet delicate scent That seems to be intensified by the heat of the sun. It is this wonderful scent that you are wanting to capture when making elder flower cordial and that is what we did today.
 Best to pick your flowers when they are full open ideally within 24-48hrs of them opening fully and on a dry day. You will need 12 large or 24 small flower heads after picking give them a good shake so any insects fall off. Best not to wash the flowers as you will wash all the pollen off them place them in a large pan cut three lemons and one orange in half squeeze the juice out. Then add 4.5 litres of cold water cover and leave for 24hrs after 24hrs take the flowers and fruit out of the pan and strain through a muslin cloth to remove any bits. Add 1.5kg of sugar stir in and bring to the boil then simmer for a few minutes keep on stirring.
Have your sterilised wine bottles ready to pore the cordial in using a funnel be careful as it is all very hot ask for help when filling the bottles if you don't have a steady hand. Screw the top on tightly and leave to cool over night the bottles may need a wipe as they can get sticky when filling and store in a cool dark cupboard.
 The cordial will last for many months if stored well or you could always use plastic bottle and freeze so you can have cordial all year round. Dilute to your own personal taste with cold water or lemonade and enjoy on a hot summers day.

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