Now here’s an easy recipe using an abundant locally-foraged ingredient that doesn’t require you to get torn to shreds harvesting or wear a hair shirt to eat, trying to persuade yourself how worthy you are as you pick bits out of your teeth. Not only that, but it’s easy to find, too – the Downs are covered with elderflower bushes at the moment, all laden with those easily-recognised clusters of small white flowers. 5 minutes’ work will get you enough to make a bottle-full and you won’t even get your knees dirty…
Take 20 elderflower heads (see picture above) and place in a large bowl. With a vegetable peeler, pare the zest from 2 lemons and an orange and add to the flowers, then cover with a litre or so of boiling water and allow to stand overnight.
The next day, strain the liquid through a cloth into a measuring jug, make up to one litre if necessary with fresh water and pour into a large pan. Add 700 grammes of caster sugar, the juice from the two lemons, and 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar (not essential if you’re going to drink straight away). Bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface and decant into a bottle.
Dilute with water for a refreshing cordial or, better still, add to Prosecco for a delicious aperitif or pour over ice with the juice of a lime and top up with sparkling water or tonic – summer in a glass!
click on the link below to download a print-friendly version: