Monday, June 21, 2010

Elderflowers and confusion at the chemists.

Have you noticed that there is a whole ton of elderflower blossom everywhere? I have been longing to concoct some cordial and finally got round to it last week.

Our local park has been brimming with the starry white flowers and I went to do some 'pruning'.

Returning home with armfuls, it was only then I checked the recipe and read it called for citric acid. So warning to you all, before you pick - get some in. You can buy citric acid online or try your local chemists as I did...
However what I thought would be a simple purchase turned into rather a mission as the first chemist had just run out apparently and refused to tell me when they were going to get some more in. Odd, I thought. Trekking on to the second chemist, they too were devoid of the stuff. I was exasperated and cried 'oh no where can I find some,i've been all over' (ever the drama queen) .The lady asked me what it was for and I explained to which she replied 'oh well you seem genuine' and reached under the counter and brought out a box!  It would seem that it is used for nefarious doings which made me think how could the first chemist obviously assumed that's what I would do. What a cheek..

I guess I do live the wrong side of the tracks, where they might not be used to  Tom and Barbara Good Life behaviour!

There are lots of recipes on the internet, but as I couldn't really work out how much elderflower I had.. I just winged it, but mainly based on this one.
So if you have a large bowlful of elderflowers- say an armful when picked, this should work.

To make the sugar syrup bring 1 and 1/2 litres of water to the boil with 1 kg of caster or granulated sugar, stir to check all the sugar has dissolved.
Whilst this bubbles away,  clean the flower heads by shaking any bugs off and removing any sign of brown flowers, I also gave them a quick dunk in a bowl of water.
I got a great tip through twitter from Easton Walled Gardens to pick the heads when they are fabulously fragrant and heavy with pollen! Don't you love it?

Pare two unwaxed lemons with a veggie peeler and then slice up the fruit and place with the rind in a the bowl of elderflowers.

Pour over the sugar syrup and stir in 50g of citric acid. Simples.

Cover and leave to stand for at least 24 hours, some recipes advise 48 hours, which is what I did as I had also forgotten to get any bottles.

The house was wonderfully scented with lemony fragrance.
Strain through muslin or a new jay cloth and pour in to sterilised glass bottles. Wash and rinse the bottles and place in a warm oven for 15 minutes. Using a jug and a funnel pour into the hot sterilised bottles.  Or pour the cordial into plastic bottles and freeze for future use.

Elderflower cordial is such a delicious tipple,dilute with still or fizzy water and garnish with sliced lemon and mint. A summer's day could be magnificent with a cool glass of cordial in your hand, use it with icing sugar to ice lemon cupcakes or try it poured on ice cream.
Or mix up a cheeky cocktail with a shot of vodka, cordial,  lemon juice and soda water, shake it all up in your cocktail shaker and serve with lots of ice. Doesn't that make your mouth water?


Joan Hunter Dunn said...

My father makes elderflower cordial and has had a similar experience in the chemist to you. Great photographs. I like mine with fizzy water.
ps The High Society dresses at the V&A are the one GK wears to outflounce the reporters and the one on the night before her wedding. You also get a few clips from the film. Hope you get to go, though it is rather busy at weekends.

Menopausal musing said...

I bounced across to you having seen you in Cupcakes And Biscuits' sidebar. I roared with laughter at your experience in the Chemist's shops. I had the same traipsing round experience a couple of years ago. I cringe at how innocently I stood in Boots not quite "getting" why the assistant was SO unco-operative. I was standing there whinging that I really was getting desperate and NEEDED IT BADLY................... I think she could have explained.....!!!!!! (I am fifty six by the way, so not very likely to be involved in drugs). Another more local chemist took me aside and "educated" me. The cordial freezes beautifully too. :O)

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