Elderflower harvest at the community garden

Posted by Amie (Shandon Food Group Community Garden Liaison), photos by Alex (18saughtonmains).

Tuesday 22 June was our first elderflower harvest at the community garden! And, what a lovely warm evening for it – more than 20 people braved the waist-high nettles to reach high up and collect the fragrant blossom.

Over a dozen people at the elderflower gathering at the RECG

Over a dozen people at the elderflower gathering at the RECG

dozens of elderflower infloresences in a bag

dozens of elderflower infloresences in a bag

Skimming the brew

Skimming the brew

Straining the brew

Straining the brew

We brewed some freshly collected flowers and also got to sample cordial made earlier this season by Alex and Jocelyn – and we really noticed the difference in recipes. I brought a book along and agreed to put the recipe here in a blog. Some people also asked me to put the book title here too – I can recommend it. It is truly local too, as it is penned by two women living in Stockbridge. The book is called Seaweed and eat it: a family foraging and cooking adventure.

I used this recipe to make apple blossom cordial too, but be warned: I think that there is too much lemon in the recipe. My apple blossom cordial is very citrusy. I’m not certain that you need both citric acid and lemon. I would recommend adding 1 TBsp citric acid at a time and taste the cordial. If it tastes good… stop.

Elderflower cordial recipe from the book above:

25 blossoms
3 unwaxed lemons
500g caster sugar
1.5L boiling water
60-80g citric acid (I recommend 2 TBsp instead)

Shake blossoms free of small insects (and large ones! ed)

Grate the peel of the lemons and cut 2 of them into slices and put to one side.

Make a syrup by putting sugar in a pan and pouring boiling water over it. Stir until dissolved and keep hot.

Put the third lemon in a food processor with a little of the sugar syrup and whiz for one minute.

Trim most of the stem from the flower heads and put them into a large bowl.

Add grated lemon peel, slices and pureed lemon and citric acid (I may omit the puree as well as citric acid)

Pour hot sugar syrup over the flower heads, stir well and leave to cool.

Leave 24-48 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain mixture through muslin or fine sieve, squeezing any excess moisture out of the flowers.

Pour into bottles and store. (If you put the cordial into plastic bottles – you can freeze.

Alex’s recipe (taken from The River Cottage Cookbook) can be found on his blog

About alex.in.shandon

Food activist, allotmenteer, wordpress theme hacker, LAMP web developer, accessibility practitioner, desktop publisher, numeracy tutor, dad, cyclist.
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