In Summer I like to make elderflower fizz the simple, quick way with nothing but the wild yeasts of the air. The result can be volatile so the best way to bottle Elderflower Fizz is to use old plastic soda or lemonade bottles as you have to let the gasses out occasionally. I’ve done it with swing top bottles but you have to keep your eye on them. The resultant fizz has an alchohol content of 3-5%. If you want to make a finer version you will have to add champagne yeast, use a demi-john with a bubble trap and fiddle about with the bottles quite a bit after decanting. I’m too impatient.
I also make cordial but that is best drunk in the Winter. The fragrance is so redolent of warm summer evenings is seems more special when drunk in the chilly darkness of a winter’s eve.. I make it with lots of sugar so the resultant syrup makes larger quantities, as you need more water to dilute it, I find most recipes too thin. You will need citric acid to bring out the flavour or the sugar overpowers the scent. Drink it now but put some of the syrup in jars in the freezer for the colder months and add it to cocktails.
To make Elderflower cordial
30-40 elderflower heads
3 litres water spring water
2kg caster sugar
1 packet of citric acid (available from chemists)
2 unwaxed oranges, juice and zest
3 unwaxed lemons, juice and zest
- DO NOT RINSE the elderflowers or you lose half the fragrance, shake gently to remove any dirt or little creatures.
- Boil half the water in a large pan, pour in the sugar and stir to dissolve it . Leave to cool. Add the rest of the water
- When ready add the orange and lemon juice and zest and then the flowers. I usually bag them in muslin weighted with marbles as suggested in my cartoon above.
- Leave in a cool place COVERED for 24-36 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Strain through some muslin and add the citric acid to taste, probably a teaspoon a litre but test it out.
- Bottle it or freeze it.
Other things to do with elderflowers:
Make the flowers into fritters
Use the cordial for drizzle cake
Mix the cordial through rhubarb and cream
Make fragrant jelly and entrap the flowers within it
Elderflower ice cubes
Store the flowers in your sugar jar