Elderflower syrup – in late spring, the sweet scent of elderflowers fills the air. That’s how you know it’s harvest time once again!
The air smells of elderberry
The properties of elderberry were already known in the Middle Ages. At that time in Italy, elderberry was considered a magical plant. People placed it near their homes to keep away evil spirits – and even lightning! People also used elderberry flowers as a tea to reduce fever, or in a bath to help them fall asleep faster.
My favourite method
My favourite method – to benefit from the many properties of elderberry – is to use it in a drink. Elderflower syrup tastes wonderful: it is delicious with a little mineral water and lemon, or in combination with Prosecco, as a Hugo.
A few drops of elderberry syrup add a fresh, unexpected note to ice cream, panna cotta or whipped cream that absolutely nobody will be able to resist.
How to collect elderflowers
Collect elderflowers on a sunny day, preferably after a dry period and in a place – ideally in the forest – away from traffic and sprayed fields. Under these conditions, elderflowers are particularly aromatic. Since they are then usually free of pests, you do not need to rinse the flowers with water. The yellow dust not only gives the drink a bright colour, but also a lot of flavour.
When picking elderflowers, be especially careful. Although the berries and blossoms are not poisonous, the leaves contain cyanide and alkaloids – just like bitter almonds.
- 100 elderflowers, large and open
- 7 l water
- 7 kg sugar
- 120 g citric acid
- 10 lemons, untreated, juice and peel
- Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the sugar, citric acid and the grated lemon peel (make sure that only the yellow peel is grated and none of the underlying white, bitter skin) to the water. Allow to boil for a few minutes and then let it cool down.
- Pour the lemon juice into the sugar water. Add the elderflowers. Cover with cling film and let the mixture rest for five days in a cool, dark place (such as a cellar). Stir occasionally.
- Strain elderberry syrup through a fine cloth into a saucepan and then fill into clean, sterilised bottles.
- Only cover the bottles with a screw cap but do not screw them shut. The syrup may occasionally ferment and the bottles may crack. Store the bottles in a fresh and cool place – elderberry syrup keeps well for six months. Serve the syrup with carbonated mineral water – at a ratio of 1 to 5 – a few slices of lemon and the juice of a fresh lemon.