Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The joy of foraging

I have been on an elderflower hunt three times in the last week.  The first time as a test run - in which I made a quick batch - a couple of glassfuls which convinced me to go on a proper search.

It is a beautiful year for elderflowers - and the perfect time - just as they are emerging into full beauty, and full of flavour, not to mention a delicious scent which permeates the whole house.

Even in an urban environment there are plenty to be had, and I seek those further away from roads to remove the risk of pollution contamination - parks, alleyways, golf courses, paths etc.

I found several recipes.  In the end I went for the instant gratification (well 24 hours) of the River Cottage recipe for half my find, and the longer term version supplied by a German friend whose elderflower cordial I have enjoyed immensely in the past, but which takes a week!  and goes very nicely with Sekt, I may add :)

The German batch is steeping as we speak in a cool dark place and I have high hopes that it will be delicious.  The River Cottage one is quite citrussy and sweet, and went down a treat - so much so that I ended up giving away much of the batch! And some more went into a Gooseberry Fool for Father's Day, as it's my husband's favourite.  Fortunately I had some left from last year.

Hence the need for another raid.  I persuaded the family to make it a team outing - mainly as my biggest boy has a longer reach than anyone else in the family!! And we struck gold - several trees in fairly close proximity - I never like to take too many from one tree as it's not fair on other foragers, or on the tree - plus the elderberries bring their own foraging joys.

The final batch is less citrussy and I only used 75% of the sugar, plus some citric acid so hopefully it will keep longer.  I have two plastic bottles worth in the freezer for later in the summer as well.

All I need now are my gooseberries, the perfect summer match for elderflower cordial.  Another week?....

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