Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Elderflower power

Creamy clusters of elderflower are perfuming hedgerows and lanes all over the country at the moment with their delicate fragrance of Muscat grapes. Collect them just-bloomed, wash carefully, pat dry and use in a recipe immediately.

Traditionally elderflowers, like many other flowers (primroses, cowslips and lime blossom, for example) were infused into vinegars, cordials and wine. Today they are mainly used in desserts and refreshing summer drinks. Add a single stem to stewed rhubarb or any fruit to give a compote, jam or fool a fragrant flavour. Alternatively, make an elderflower and gooseberry sorbet, elderflower fritters or a syrup to add to summer fruit salads.


For elderflower cordial dissolve 450g (1 lb) sugar with 900ml (1.5 pints) water, the zest of 1 lemon and the juice of 2. Boil for 2 minutes. Add 12 elderflower heads. Stir, cover, leave until cold. Strain into a bottle. Chill. Serve diluted with sparkling spring water. It also adds a spritz to cocktails, and is great stirred in to custard or drizzled over vanilla ice cream.

3 comments:

Alex said...

I've been supping my mother's excellent elderflower cordial for the past couple of weeks. Sublime over ice with vodka too...

grubsup said...

I've wanted to make elderflower champagne for a while, but it seems I missed the elderflower season this year.

Lovely photo, the elderflower looks so delicate!

The Ginger Gourmand said...

I had the most amazing crop of elderflower ready for the picking this year but too much to do and no time to do it all and, alas, I never did get around to picking it... Next year though there will be elderflower cordial (I'm saving some lovely bottles already in anticipation!) and a sorbet maybe.