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.