As a family growing up in France, we always loved foraging for food: whether it be blackberries, mussels, Cepes or even truffles – although we have never yet found one of those!
So when my Mum read a recipe on the Woodland Trust blog about making Elderflower Cordial it didn’t take long before Dad had the secateurs out and Mum was boiling up the concoction in their kitchen.
Sadly, I haven’t yet been able to taste the results but I gather that the feeling was that the Woodland Trust’s “non-citric acid” recipe ended up quite sweet – which may also have had something to do with what seemed like quite a large amount of granulated sugar that went in.
So we are going to put forward a recipe my Grandmother was given many years ago and which my Grandfather says he always liked.
20+ heads of elderflower
2 pints of water
1 sliced lemon
3lbs of castor sugar
3oz citric acid
Bring water to boil
Add sugar and lemon and boil until dissolved
Add elderflower and citric acid
Steep overnight [or should that be sleep?!]
Strain and bottle
Fun fact (thanks to Belvoir Fruit Farms)!
The elder was long regarded as sacred, protected by the Elder Mother who lived in its trunk. Many country folk would not cut or burn the wood for fear of upsetting her. Moreover, the elder was thought of as a protective tree – it was believed to keep evil spirits from entering the house if grown outside the door. Elders were also said to protect people from lightening when they sheltered under them from a storm, because legend has it that Christ’s cross was made from elder wood. And if you want see fairies, all you need to do is stand under an elder tree on Midsummer’s Eve, but be careful not to fall asleep, because they’ll carry you off!