Elderflowers are one of the most beautiful trees that grow along the canal here in Derbyshire. With umbrellas of tiny, delicate white flowers, followed by purple berries as autumn approaches, they have a gorgeous sweet smell and can be used in many delicious recipes.
My personal favourite in summer is making an elderflower syrup. This is great for drizzling over porridge or pancakes, but it also works really well in cocktails or added to sparkling water for a floral, summer fizz!
Elderflower has traditionally been used to soothe swollen sinuses, to prevent colds and flu and even as an aid to relieve constipation. It is also used to increase urine production (as a diuretic), to increase sweating and to reduce bleeding.
Elderberries themselves are a fantastic winter tonic. Without its flowers the tree won't produce any berries, so remember to leave some florals on the tree to ensure you get a lovely crop of berries later in the year.
15 elderflower heads
300g sugar (I've used coconut sugar)
1 tbsp citric acid
1/2 lemon sliced
Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan, add the sugar and stir through until it's all dissolved. Add the citric acid and stir well. Then set to one side to cool
Remove the stalks as best possible from the elderflowers and make sure there aren't any little bugs or insects lurking. You don't want to wash them as they'll lose some of their wonderfully strong flavour
Add the flowers to a bowl alongside the sliced lemon, and pour over the cooled sugar / water mixture
Leave standing for 10-20 minutes to allow the elderflower flavour to absorb, then sieve to remove any flower heads, pour into sterilised bottles and store in the fridge
- Tastes delicious drizzled over pancakes or summer berries
- Pour into a champagne glass as a cordial concentrate, top up with fizzy water
- Use as an ice cream topping sauce
- Add as a tasty, floral sweetener to cocktails and mocktails