Thank goodness for spring! I adore the beautiful sights, sounds and most of all scents which envelop me while I am outdoors. One of my favourite scents, and flavours, is that of the Elderflower which I use to make Elderflower syrup.
Elderflower syrup is a gorgeous addition to your drinks repertoire and, if you are lucky, can easily be made by foraging close to home. Elderflower grows close to where I live so I decided to make some Elderflower syrup.
How to make Elderflower Syrup
- 8-9 Elderflower umbels (the flower head group)
- 2 litres boiling water
- 2 kg white sugar
- 40 gr citric acid (available at Holland & Barrett)
- 5-6 lemon slices (optional)
Gently shake the Elderflower umbels and inspect them for any contaminants. Do not wash them. The umbles should have fully opened blossoms and not be browning. Remove most of the green parts. If you use the entire Elderflower umbles you will probably end up with a bitter Elderflower syrup so make sure to either cut very close to the blossoms or tear off the blossoms.
Place the Elderflowers into a large stock pot of at least 4 litres capacity. Pour in the boiling water and then add in the sugar and citric acid and stir everything together. I use a wooden spoon for this purpose. Cover the pot and then let it sit for two days. Make sure to give it a stir every once in a while.
After two days strain the mixture to remove the blossoms and then bring the syrup to a boil. Remove from heat and pour into clean bottles and close tightly. Make sure to label your bottles and store in a cool and dark place until ready to use. Once opened keep in the fridge. This recipe will make just under 3 litres of syrup. Yummy!
Elderflower syrup should last for a year, possibly more, if stored correctly. This goes amazing in normal tap water, sparkling water and in cocktails.
Some notes on foraging: make sure to forage away from roadsides in places you know are not sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. Make sure to take only what you need and not to over forage one plant/area. When I forage I always take from multiple plants. Always double check that you have the correct plant. When in doubt let it be!
I find foraging is a wonderful addition to a low waste and sustainable lifestyle. If you are interested in my approach to this read more here.