Behold the elderflower.
The elderflower bushes around the Oakland Hills are coming into their second bloom. You can find elderflower bushes all over the Bay Area. They grow wild up in the hills or by the roadside. I harvested for my batch of elderflower syrup in early May, and now they are blossoming again!
In my childhood, every Swedish household had syrups on hand. Grocery stores carry them in an abundant variety of fruit flavors, with the most popular ones being strawberry and raspberry. It is enjoyed simply diluted in tap water as a thirst quencher or, if you want to get fancy, added to a glass of sparkling water.
Scandinavians love to forage, can and preserve at any opportunity, so when elderflowers blossom, it’s time to make Elderflower Syrup. They are harvested from your garden tree, combined with lemon and sugar and left to to marry for a couple of days and then, voilá! You have an elegant, organic and delicious libation enhancer for any occasion.
NOTE that all parts of the Elderflower tree, EXCEPT for flowers and ripe(only ripe) berries are poisonous. The stems of the flower clusters you harvest are ok.
What follows is a tried and true recipe. I have trialed the errors for you! I am warning you – there are recipes from trusted sources(like best seller cookbooks) floating around, that will call for 50g (1 3/4 oz) of citric acid. That is a copious amount. Whatever you do, do not add more than maaaybe 1/2 teaspoon, or your syrup will be undrinkable. It can actually be omitted completely.
E L D E R F L O W E R S Y R U P R E C I P E
I N G R E D I E N T S:
30 clusters of elderflowers
3 medium size lemons(washed in warm water)
1 1/2 L (6 1/3 cups) water
1.8 kg (9 cups) granulated sugar
(1/2 teaspoon citric acid)
Start heating up the water on high heat. Then, make sure that most of the tiny little black beetles have flown off of your elderflowers. Place them in a bowl large enough to hold all of the syrup you will be making. Peel the lemons with a peeler(save peels), clean off the pith and slice the lemons thinly. Put peels and slices in with the elderflowers. When the water has come to a boil, turn the heat off and add all of the sugar and the citric acid. Let dissolve, and pour the mixture over the elderflowers and lemon. Cover, and let sit in room temp for 3 days. Pour the syrup through sieve covered with cheese cloth, and bottle.
The bottles need to be refrigerated, and least for a month or so. I pour my syrup into big tupperware and store it in the freezer. The syrup never freezes completely, so you can just scoop some out as you need it. It lasts in the freezer until you go to make next years batch!
E N J O Y