Knitting and London life. Not necessarily in that order.
Thursday, June 17
Now is the time to be gathering elderflowers and whipping up a pint or two of the English classic Elderflower Cordial. 1. First source your elderflowers: often the bushes are found growing on waste ground or along the side of canals, rivers etc. I filched mine from a local park which has dozens of bushes. The recipe only calls for about 25 heads but I would hesitate to pick them in a park if there were only two or three bushes.
2. Wait for a dry, warm day to pick the flowers. This is when the distinctive scent will be at its finest. Pick flower heads which still have a few buds unopened. Avoid those with any brown areas on them.
3. Make as follows: - 25 elderflower heads - juice and rind of three lemons - juice and rind of one orange - 1kg sugar - 1.5 litres water
Pick over the flower heads and remove any insects. Place in a large pan with the lemon and orange rind. Boil the water and pour it into the pan, then cover with a clean cloth and leave overnight.
The next day, use a sterilised* jelly bag/piece of muslin/old pair of tights to strain the liquid and return it to the pan with the orange and lemon juice and the sugar.
Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and simmer for a couple of minutes.
Pour into sterilised* bottles. The cordial will last for a few weeks in the fridge, but if you want to keep it for longer, you can divide it into small plastic bottles and freeze it, remembering to leave a bit of air at the top of the bottle. Alternatively you can add citric acid as a preservative.
To drink it, dilute with still or sparkling water/champagne etc to taste.
*I generally sterilise these using boiling water, but be careful if you are putting it in plastic bottles - they deform! In this case you might be best off getting some sterilising tablets.