Sunday, 22 May 2011

Elderflower Refresher

The elderflowers seem early this year - either it's the exceptionally hot spring, or I'm getting old and time is speeding up. Or both!

This is a nice refreshing drink as it is, but you can quadruple the sugar and leave the elderflowers soaking for up to 24 hours in order to produce cordial. Don't leave it any longer - unless you're aiming for elderflower champagne!

As insects absolutely love elderflower nectar, you're very likely to end up with some bugs in your glass. If this bothers you, then get ye to the Bottlegreen instead!


Look closely and you can see the
pollen at the bottom of the jug!
  • 15 fluffy elderflower heads
  • 2 (organic, unwaxed) lemons
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 200 ml boiling water
  • cold water

Pick your elderflower heads using a pair of scissors and a bucket or plastic tub to catch them. Try not to strip a single bush; use a little from several if you can. They are good for cordial when touching them leaves a fine yellow dust on your hands: this is the pollen and it gives the drink a lot of its flavour. Don't use any with brown, shrivelled petals, as these will easily come off in the drink.

At home, juice your lemons into a large jug, then push in the elderflower heads. Dissolve the sugar in the boiling water, and pour all over the flowers - this will kill some of the insects and denature a slightly unpleasant alkaloid found in elderflowers. Top up with cold water; up to about 2 litres for these quantities. 

Leave to sit for at least an hour, then get a large spoon and give it a very good mixing, to get the pollen free-floating in the jug. Put the squeezed lemon halves on top - this will act as a natural filter to stop flower heads coming out when you pour. Pour through a sieve (or a sieve and muslin combo if you're set on excluding insects), into glasses with plenty of ice. Lovely.

No comments:

Post a Comment