At this time of the year, the country lanes that surround BTKF’s base in Wymondham, south Norfolk, are often abundant with elderflowers. And, if you’ve never used the flowers of what is widely regarded to be the ‘King of the Hedgerow’, then why not try an elderflower recipe? Just be sure to pick the elderflower heads when they’re in their prime. Any older – a giveaway is brown or yellowing flowers – and your foraged creations will be more fusty than fabulous.
- 2.5kg caster or granulated sugar
- 2 lemons, unwaxed
- 20 fresh elderflower heads – trim the stalks and gently swish them in a bowl of cold water to remove dust, bugs etc.
- 85g citric acid*
Grab the largest saucepan you have – a preserving pan will work a treat. Add the sugar, plus 1.5 litres of filtered water. Heat gently, without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved.
Pare the rind from the lemon, then thinly slice the lemon.
Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the syrup to boiling point and turn off the heat. Add the ‘swished’ elderflower heads and lemon rind and slices to the syrup. Add the citric acid and stir well.
Cover the saucepan and leave overnight.
Put a large colander over a bowl and line the colander with a fine, clean tea towel, muslin or kitchen towel. Spoon the syrup/flowers/lemon into the colander and allow the liquid to drip through into the bowl. Use a funnel to pour the cordial into storage bottles.
You can enjoy the cordial straightaway – mix with cold water, tonic, soda or make an elderflower royale – a little cordial, mixed with Prosecco, Cava or Champagne. The cordial will be fine in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Alternatively, you can freeze the cordial.
*You can purchase citric acid from some chemists, but it can be hard to find. It is also available online from specialist brewing and beverage suppliers.
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