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?....