There are elders growing in the neglected orchard, there shouldn't be but there are so what better way to use nature's unexpected bounty than making a few delicious beverages:
Pick 6 full Elderflower heads, preferably on a sunny day in the morning, I'm told they smell better then.
In a clean bucket dissolve 1kilo of sugar into 10 litres of cold water.
Give the Elderflowers a shake to remove any dust or insects and immerse in the water.
Add the juice of 2 freshly sqeezed lemons along with the lemon skins.
Add 4 table spoons of white wine vinegar and stir gently.
Cover with a tea towel and leave for 24hours stirring occasionally.
After 24 hours strain the liquor through a sieve or muslin and bottle
into sterilised 1 litre plastic pop type bottles. Plastic is best as
during the fermentation a lot of fizz is produced which can cause a
bottle to explode so don't over fill!
The naturally occuring yeast on the Elderflowers will ferment with the
sugar and after a couple of weeks you will have Elderflower Champagne
with a very slight alcoholic content. It will be ready to drink but the
flavour improves with keeping and it will keep for a year or so in a
Elderflower cordial makes a lovely refreshing drink and it's easy to make your self, you'll need:
20 heads of elderflower flowers,
1.8kg granulated sugar, or caster sugar ,
1.2 litres water ,
2 unwaxed lemons
75g citric acid (available from chemists)
1. Shake the elderflowers to remove insects, and then place in a large bowl.
2. Put the sugar in a pan with the water and bring up to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
3. While the sugar syrup is heating, pare the zest of the lemons in wide
strips and add to the bowl of elderflowers. Slice the lemonsand add
these to the bowl. Pour over the boiling syrup, and stir in the citric
acid. Cover with a cloth and then leave at room temperature for 24
4. Next day, strain the cordial through a sieve lined with muslin and bottle.