Tag Archives: elderflower

Valley vodka

5 Jul

So, it’s been ages since I made any flavoured alcohol.  But what would be a nicer reminder of the heady summer days (yes both days) than some elderflower vodka?

I can’t believe I haven’t thought of making this before.  I love infusing alcohols with different flavours and have used blackcurrants, plums, damsons, sloes and cranberries before.  And lemons and oranges, and all manner of spices.

Anyway, back to midsummer flavours.

I don’t usually go back to the valley mid-week but yesterday had arranged to go back (on a Monday night) to finish off the elderflower fizz process (straining and bottling). When I got back it was still gorgeous warm sunshine, and I headed straight down to the garden, to pick some sweet smelling flowers.  There are still plenty in bloom in the valley.

I stuffed the flower-heads into a 1.5l kilner jar, and filled the jar up with vodka.  The jar will be shoogled every day for a week or two.  Then I’ll strain it, and add some sugar syrup, to make a liqueur.

I’ll report back with a taste test.

Elderflowers

27 Jun

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).

Elderflower vinegar

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.

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