A few days ago I posted a photo of two jars in which "something was happening". One of them is ready and has turned out well: it's delicious elderflower syrup.
May is the month when elderberries come into bloom.
Personally, I love this plant: it is the subject of many legends. According to some, the elder is the tree of witches; according to others, it's the tree of fairies. In Germany it is the tree of the fairy Holda – and in olden times, when German peasants came across an elder tree, they took off their hats as a sign of great respect. And not only that, but the Druids, Celtic herbalist magicians, obtained their magic wands from the elder tree.
Elderflower syrup has remarkable properties: it is an excellent diuretic, it promotes sweating, it lowers body temperature and it eliminates toxins.
This syrup can be drunk with cold water, perhaps with a little ice. It is a wonderfully refreshing drink.
What's more, it's an essential ingredient of the lovely Hugo cocktail: 60ml (40%) Prosecco; 60ml (40%) Seltz; 30ml (20%) elderflower syrup; and mint leaves.
Go and get your elderberry flowers. Try to do it on a dry day, or before the flowers catch the rain.
15-25 elderberry flowers (whole clusters) , 1 litre of water , 3 organic lemons , 1 kilo of sugar.
The original recipe contains 15 flower clusters, but the more of them you put in, the more the flavour intensifies. So if you stay between 15 and 25 it should be fine – only the intensity of the flavour will change.
What else is needed?
1 hermetically sealed glass jar of about 2 litres, gauze, 1 strainer, 1 large saucepan, a wooden spoon, two glass bottles.
Thoroughly clean the flowers, removing all the green parts and stems. Transfer the flowers to the glass jar and add the thinly sliced lemons. Cover everything with water and mix well. Close the jar and let it sit for 24 hours.
Remember, sugar is needed later.
The day after...
Place a piece of gauze on a large sieve and gradually pour in the contents of the jar. Then, squeeze the flowers and lemons a little at a time to release all the juice and flavour.
The setup you can see in the picture is not elegant, but it is practical: I poured the juice directly into the saucepan.
Next, add the sugar and boil (over a low heat) for 15-20 minutes.
Warning: the syrup remains liquid but full-bodied. Don't expect a thick consistency.
Now is the sugar moment...
Let it cool for a few minutes (glass bottles rarely crack, but I'd still be wary of transferring a hot liquid into one straight away).
The syrup is ready. Do you want to give it away as a gift? Perfect – have a go at decorating the bottle. I hope you are better at using sealing wax than I am...
Have you decided to try making elderflower syrup? Just let me know. Write a post and tag me – I am honoured to know when fellow Tribers try my recipes.