|The Elderflower Mix|
This recipe reminds me of my childhood and the beginning of summer. Towards the end of May/beginning of June we would all start looking out for signs of the Elderflower, with its delicate perfume, along country lanes or beside the River Thames in London.
This delicious cordial is perfect for a refreshing summer drink and if you make enough and freeze it, it can last you through winter too.
Ingredients for 8 litres
6 litres water
8 lemons (4 juiced, 4 scrubbed and sliced)
100g citric acid
200 elderflower heads
Heat the water in a large saucepan (or 2), add the sugar and leave it to dissolve. Set aside to cool down. To speed things up stand the saucepan in cold water.
When the mixture has cooled transfer to a large fermenting container (or equivalent).
Add the lemon juice, chopped lemons and oranges, citric acid and stir well. Stir in the elderflower heads and cover with a lid.
Leave the mixture to stand for 24-36 hours, stirring every 4 hours. My Dad always left the container in the bath or shower, not sure why, but it has now become a family tradition!
Meanwhile, prepare 8 litre containers. I usually use recycled milk cartons washed in the dishwasher or sometimes I ask the local pub to hold on to a few empty wine bottles with screw lids for me. If I intend to gift the cordial I find a prettier bottle to put it in.
The last stage is the most time consuming and can be messy.
You need a large strainer lined with muslin (extra fine cotton) placed over a large bowl. Scoop cupfuls of liquid into the lined strainer and use the back of a spoon to squeeze the liquid through.
When the bowl is full of a clear liquid transfer it, with the help of a funnel, into the empty milk cartons (or equivalent).
Repeat until all liquid is used up.
Store in a freezer and de-frost before use, saving one bottle to drink straight away (Only freeze the cartons, the glass bottles will burst!).
To serve: Pour a small amount into a glass; add ice, a slice of lemon and cold water (still or sparkling) for a refreshing summer drink.
For an extra treat add a few drops of Angostura Bitter.
I sometimes add a splash of elderflower cordial to my cider as it gives a tasty new dimension to the drink.