I love elderflowers.
I love their mop headed look.
I love their sweet, heady scent.
And I love the gentle flavour, which can be captured so easily in a bottle. A bottle of elderflower cordial or elderflower fizz is a perfect reminder of midsummer. Elderflower vinegar makes a delicious salad dressing. And gooseberry and elderflower sorbet is a perfect ending to a dinner party. Or a delicious amuse bouche.
More on the other recipes later. This last weekend was all about the elderflower vinegar (if only because I had very little time, as I was working most of the weekend).
First go pick your elderflowers – try to pick them on a sunny morning, but certainly not in the rain. You’ll need about 5 elderflower heads for every 300ml of white wine vinegar. So, pick as many as you need, but no more – you want the elders to produce elderberries later in the year for other treats.
So, this is the easiest recipe in the world. Pour the vinegar into a heavy bottomed pan. Add the elderflowers (after you’ve picked them over to make sure there are no bugs or nasties).
Warm the vinegar. Don’t let it actually boil, but get it steamyhot. Use a wooden spoon to press the flowers down into the vinegar from time to time as it’ heating up.
Leave the vinegar and flowers in the pan till it’s all cooled down.
Strain through muslin. And bottle (the easiest is to put it back in the vinegar bottles it came out of). Make pretty labels if you’re giving it away.
This is wonderful made into a dressing with olive oil, honey and mustard. And garlic, black pepper, herbs, lemon juice and whatever else you fancy (or have in the cupboard).
I used the lovely Aspall’s organic white wine, but it would also be lovely made with cider vinegar.