Its Elderflower season and with our dry sunny weather it’s the ideal time to make a batch of Elderflower Syrup, cordial or Champagne. Last year I added fresh fragrant rose petals and really loved the results. Quick and easy to make, here are a few Tips
: Strip the flowers from stems before using, I use a gloved hand as have never liked the fork method.
: Store in sterilized bottles or freeze excess syrup in silicone baking forms for later use.
:Use limes instead of lemons, unwaxed organic of course.
: For the syrup use unrefined sugar, or honey if you can.
Elderflower and rose syrup.
I find the syrup more useful than the champagne, it has no alcohol, no problems with pressure in bottles, excess can be frozen in silicone baking forms and bagged for use much later, ideal ingredient for mixing cocktails or making deserts. If you like a sparkling drink, just add tonic or sparkling water or sparkling wine.
20 Elderflower heads, stripped.
2 cups scented rose petals, from non sprayed roses.
2 kg unrefined sugar, or honey.
3 limes, 1 lemon, organic non waxed, zest and juice.
2 teaspoons of citric or tartaric acid.
1 and half litres water.
Put the elderflowers,a petals, juice and zest into a large bowl or bucket. Biol up about two thirds of the water, no need to be too exact, turn off heat and stir sugar into hot water till dissolved. Cool the mix with the remaining cold water and stir in the acid, Pour the lot over the flowers and cover with a clean cloth. Leave overnight, strain and bottle into sterilized bottles or freeze.
For a real summer treat, serve garnished with flowers or herbs from the garden, lemon balm, rose petals or try a sprig of Rosemary in Gin with a dash of Elderflower syrup.
For the Champagne use 10 Elderflower heads, 1 cup of rose petals and proceed as Dandelion and Gorserecipe.
I made a very quick and easy Dairy free Elderflower Ice-cream for our forage @ weekend, here is the recipe
I used “Sojade” organic soya yogurt but you can also try mashed ripe avocado.
It’s best to use an ice cream maker if you have one. It is important to add lime and lemon juice at start to keep good colour and don’t overheat water, if you don’t have time to infuse overnight just leave flowers soaking for an hour at least.
700grms un-refined sugar (or try Xylitol)
Zest and juice of 2 organic limes and 1 lemon (0r 3 lemons),
40 fresh Elderflower heads,
200g cornflour (or Kuzu)
2, 400g tubs of Organic soya yogurt.
Teaspoon of sea salt.
Put zest, juice, and water into a pan and heat to hot but not boiling. Add flowerheads turn off heat, cover and infuse overnight if possible otherwise for at least an hour.
Strain, you should have a good strong Elderflower scented liquid.
Return liquid to rinsed pan and add sugar, heat stirring to dissolve sugar.
Mix cornflour to a thick paste with a little water, pour into pan stirring all the time, bring to boil and simmer for 3 minutes stirring all the time.Turn off heat and taste, remember you will be adding yogurt and that frozen will taste less sweet. However I like to reduce the sweetness by adding a teaspoon of sea-salt at this stage.Cool the liquid, you can speed up the cooling process by putting pan into a bowl of cold water and ice cubes.
In blender blend the yogurt and COLD Elderflower or use a stick blender and large bowl, when well blended, taste adjust flavour to your liking with more sweet, salt or lemon/lime.
Churn in ice-cream maker for about 20 minutes and scoop into container. If you don’t have an ice-cream maker place in freezer and freeze for hour, remove and mix to break up any ice crystals, return to freezer and repeat twice or till frozen.
Delectable with any desert, Try Fraughan syrup for a final florish.
The old fashioned roses are so fragrant just now and I’ve been working on ways to capture their fragrance so it can be enjoyed in depths of winter, very happy with this recipe for Rose Petal Jelly. In this recipe the petals are never boiled and retain their essential glory. Rose petals are also used as a remedy for many things.
I can’t think of a better food to soothe a battered heart.
Rose Petal Jelly.
5 large handfuls of fragrant rose petals,
juice of 3 lemons,
1.2 litres filtered water (1,200mls)
2 teaspoons rosewater (optional)
1kg jam sugar.
Have small jars clean and warm ready before you start to make. Put all ingredients except the petals into a stainless steel saucepan, bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil for 5 mins or so, test for setting point.
Meanwhile slice the petals into small pieces.
When setting point has been reached turn off heat and stir in petals.Pot while hot into jars distributing the petals evenly between jars. Seal as quickly as possible. The petals will infuse in the hot liquid, giving their heavenly scent and colour to the jelly.
The jelly freezes very well and is best in small jars so it is used quickly after opening.
I am also making a glycerite from petals and will report on progress over the summer.
Elderflowers are at their best for picking just when they open before they begin to drop their pollen.The stalks should always be removed. I first started making delight last year and was amazed by its popularity even with people who dislike turkish delight.I started with John Wright`s recipe from the River cottage handbook no.7, “Hedgerow” but soon began tweaking anf modifiying to suit my own taste, this is the result and I hope you like it.
40 large elderflower heads, stalks removed,
1,400grms unrefined sugar,
8 limes, jest and juice,
40grms gelatine, leaf or powdered,
1 teaspoon salt,
Line a shallow tray with baking parchment.put the flower heads and water into heavy sausepan and heat, leave to infuse overnight or for at least a few hours. Strain and return liquid to the pan.Add the sugar and lime juice and zest. Continue heating and stirring to dissolve sugar. Meanwhile soak the gelatine according to pack instructions. Make a smooth paste with the cornflower and some cold water. Stir the cornflower mixture into pan and mix well,add the gelatine and stir quickly to mix well and dissolve throughout mix.
Now (this is the tough bit) bring the mix to the boil stirring all the time, its a good idea to wrap the mixing hand in a tea towel to protect from heat and splashes of very hot mix.As the mix comes to the boil it will thicken and can “spit” a lot, keep stirring to prevent burning, boil for 10 minutes and then pour into prepared tray. Allow to cool and when cool cut into cubes.Place the cubes on a flat tray lined with parchment and allow to dry in a hot press or other warm dry spot for 2 or 3 days. Toss the cubes in a half and half mix of cornflower and Icing sugar. Delight can be stored in tin boxes if you can manage to resist eating it all straight away.
I would like to experiment a little further and try using Carrigeen moss to set the delight thus producing a vegan friendly version.