Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Quick, you have just enough time to collect a few more elderflowers before they start to go over.
And this is how you do it:
You should attire yourself, top to toe in white cheese cloth, long and flowing (yes, men too) with some wild flowers in your hair.
Pick on a sunny day, so there is lots of pollen on the flowers. Back light yourself and skip down to the Elder tree with a wicker basket upon your arm.
Now, this is where it could get complicated - you have to do a pirouette, arms up, toes pointed and ... smiling all the time.
Face the tree, arms up and ask the spirit of Mother Elder for permission to pluck her wondrous flowers.
This is compulsory, otherwise she gets very cross.
Once permission has been granted (usually signalled by a light breeze), you can start to gently remove the precious flowers for your cordial.
It's very simple. I do it all the time.
Apparently next week they are taking me away.
Elderflower Cordial which turns in to Elderflower Vodka.
5 pints of boiling water
2lbs granulated sugar
2oz citric or tartaric acid
1 orange - sliced
1 lemon - sliced
40 Elderflower heads
Pour the boiling water over the sugar in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve and then leave to cool.
Add the citric or tartaric acic, the orange and lemon. Stir.
Now add the Elderflowers.
Cover and leave for 48 hours in a very cool, dark place.
Strain through muslin and store in bottles in the fridge.
Take 1 pint of your cordial and add another 20 elderflower heads. Leave for 24 hours in a cool, dark place.
Add 3 pints of vodka (according to how strong you want the drink, I've been known to use 4!) and stir.
Keep in the freezer. Best served straight from it.
This drink is excellent after a meal, or even with a dash of tonic and a slice of lime.
Or indeed for breakfast!