On a hot sunny day, a glass of sparkling elder flower water is not only refreshing, but delicious.
And it makes a great alcohol-free alternative to the glass of chilled white I might otherwise be tempted to indulge in.
Elder flower cordial doesn’t come cheap though, but I was delighted to discover that it’s quite easy to make—the trickiest part was the foraging: finding a tree far enough away from a busy road to ensure the flowers aren’t fume-infused.
But it was worth the search, because not only is it easy and delicious, but sipping your own home-made concoction has the added bonus of self-satisfaction that can’t be bought anywhere.
If you’re tempted to make your own, following is the process to make three and half litres:
- Chop the stalks off 20 elder flower heads
- Peel and slice two unwaxed lemons
- Pour 2 ½ kg of sugar in a very large pot with 1 ½ litres of water
- When the sugar has dissolved (slowly, over a gentle heat), bring the syrup to a boil abd then turn off the heat
- Swish the elder flower heads in a bowl of water to remove dirt or insects
- Add elder flower, lemon peel and slices to the syrup, along with 50g of citric acid. Cover and steep for at least 24 hours.
After a day and a half of steeping, sterilize your bottles by heating in the oven. Then, using a muslin cloth strain the syrup and transfer to the bottles.
Then use to spice up ice-cream and other deserts, or simply enjoy as a cold and refreshing drink.
Author: Hilda Carroll
Editor: Catherine Monkman