The elderflowers are blooming in the hedgerows early this year thanks to the warm, wet weather, which means it's time to make elderflower cordial and champagne!
We use a walking stick to pick the flowers, which are often high up in hedges with brambles and stinging nettles underneath, so the hook helps to pull the branches down for us to pick.
We pick the flowers from quiet country lanes, never busy roadsides where they could be polluted from exhaust fumes.
We also pick the flowers in full bloom on a bright sunny day, only taking what we need and leaving the rest for wildlife.
Once we get home we gently shake out any bugs and beasties from the flowers and pop them into a large preserving pan.
Elderflower Cordial Recipe
(makes 4-5 75cl bottles)
50 elderflower heads
2 litres of water
2 unwaxed lemons
2 kg caster sugar
10g citric acid
1. Put the elderflower heads into a large pan
2. Add the zest of two lemons
3. Pour the boiling water over the top and leave for 24 hours to infuse
4. Strain the mixture, disguarding the elderflowers
4. Add the juice of the two lemons, the citric acid and the sugar and bring to the boil
5. As soon as the cordial boils, turn heat down and simmer for a further five minutes
6. Sterilise the bottles in the oven or the dishwasher
7. Filter the cordial into the bottles and label
8. We also pour some of the cordial into ice cube trays
9. Enjoy over the summer!