Elderflower Cordial

With the elderflower shrubs growing along the roadside and the lemons in the yard it is a great opportunity to make a unique syrup for a refreshing beverage.

In a past blog I wrote about lemons. There are many different varieties you can grow at home if you live in the right climate for citrus. I think that everyone’s favorite for flavor is the Meyer lemon. It is not so sour as what you think of for a lemon. Some one told me that it was a cross with an orange. I don’t know, but it does have a darker colored pulp inside it when it is fully ripe.

My elderflowers bloom a little  all summer, but the best is in later spring. The end of May into early June I have lots of fresh flowers on my shrubs.

I stopped by the roadside to pick some on Highway One driving south from San Francisco on the coast. Ads I stepped in to pick some of the elegant flowers growing on these rustic shrubs, I almost grabbed a branch of poison oak. I looked in at so many lovely blooms that were just of of reach unless I stepped into the poison oak growing lush and fresh and resinous in the early spring. Whew!… I just caught myself in time.

I have planted several different varieties of Sambucus around my property. There are lovely varieties with variegated leaves, dark purple to black leaves,  and  with lacy deeply serrated leaves. The flowers and berries on all types are useable. I have only had a few of the berries over the years as the birds get to them before I do. Sometimes the heat in the summers here in Bonny Doon challenge the plants and I hope to get more water on mine in the future to see if that will make a difference in the amount of fruit I get. This spring I had some lovely flowers and I made my first ever elderflower syrop.

Elderflower Syrop

1  lb cane sugar.                                                        2 cups sugar (16 oz)
11/2 pints boiling water
4 small lemons
14 elderflower heads
1 oz citric acid.                                                         3tablespoons citric acid

Boil the water.

Add the sugar to the  saucepan or stockpot .

Grate lemons with a fine grater, add to the sugar water

Slice the lemons into thick slices and add to the water

Add the citric acid and stir

Add the flower heads and stir again

Cover with a clean cloth and let steep for 48 hours

Strain through clean fine muslin cloth into a clean bowl.

Funnel into clean sterile bottles

Store in the refrigerator.

Mine molded after a few weeks and I haven’t tried bottling it in the pressure cooker or rolling water bath to seal and sterilize the elixer.

It is great with sparkling water as a special refreshing soda, or added to a lemonade with a difference. Also try as a champagne cocktail or for a special lemon/ elderflower martini.

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