Coming back from work yesterday l noticed the hedgerows were starting to fill with Elder flowers so l had to stop and pick some and make my all time favourite non-alcoholic drink, Elderflower Cordial.
Did you know?:
- that animals find the smell of elder leaves so awful that even rabbits won’t eat them.
- in years gone by people use to gather elder leaves on the last day of April and place them on their doors and windows to keep the witches away;
- gardeners used to place the bruised leaves around tender plants to deter aphids and put a sprig in their hat to keep away midges;
- cutting the tree for firewood will bring bad luck;
- elderberry cordial helps relieve a sore throat;
- elder flowers can be dipped in batter and eaten as fritters;
I use a recipe from Sarah Raven and l think it’s the best one around. This is easy, really easy and probably takes about 20 mins from start to finish, with 24 hours in between.
So first, go and pick your flowers…
Try not to pick flowers close to a busy road and take a sniff of the flower. Ideally they will smell of bananas but probably will have a faint whiff of cat. Don’t worry as the real fragrance comes out during the process of making the cordial. Try not to pick flowers that have started to turn brown as this will taint the drink. I trim as much of the stem off as possible before plunging them into the syrup.
Chop up your fruit and add to the elder flowers. Give it a good stir and leave for 24 hours.
Next, strain and pour into warmed bottles. I use old Lemonade bottles with the rubber stopper.
It’s delicious with chilled fizzy mineral water and loads of ice and lemon on a hot summer’s afternoon.
Go on, give it a go!