Elderflower is a really healthy plant. For example, I had a chronical laryngitis for about 5 years, which often made me lose my voice at least once a month. My doctor didn’t know what to do anymore and told me to drink elderflower tea and inhale it. That’s the best thing I was ever told from a doctor, it really helped! I want to show you what else we do with elderflower in our family:
I don’t know how this is in your country but, here in Austria, everyone has a mum or a granny who makes THE best elderflower syrup. Of course, I firmly believe that MY granny makes THE best syrup! Are there different ways to make it? There sure are! And today I’ll introduce you to our family recipe:
When making something with elderflower, it already starts with collecting it. It’s usually in season late spring/early summer and you will definitely smell it when it’s time. It already smells mouthwatering! Make sure you find it somewhere far away from roads and air pollution. Try to find big, approximately 10 cm flowers which are fully flowering. Cut off the flowers in a non-harming way for the plant and of course, don’t take all of them, leave something for the bees.
When your home, fill a bucket with 5 l of water and put 7-10 flowers (depending on the size of the flowers) for each liter of water. So, for 5 l water you put 35-50 flowers. Then add 250 g of citric acid. I say gram here because we buy it in powdered form, they usually sell it at the supermarkets specifically during elder flower season. We tried with fresh lemon juice one year but it just wasn’t the same. Then, stir just a bit, cover the bucket with a cloth towel and a rubber band (or use what you have to not make the cloth fall off the bucket), and let it rest. Recipes say it should rest for 24h, my granny knows better so, we let it rest for 3 days.
After the 3 days, use a sieve to pour the liquid with the elderflowers into another bucket to get the flowers out. Then, stir in 1 kg of sugar for every liter. In my case, that’s 5 kg of sugar. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved, then pour into bottles and store them at a dark, cool place. They last quite long, in my family we make elderflower syrup once a year and it last’s us the whole year.
To sum up, you need:
- 7-10 flowers per liter of water
- citric acid (50 g per liter of water)
- sugar (1 kg per liter of water)
- a bucket
- a cloth towel
- bottles to stor the syrup in
Serve it for example cool with ice cubes and a slice of lemon, or with lemon and mint, or use it to make like a wine cocktail with elderflower syrup, whit wine, mint and soda.
Oxymel is Latin and means acid and honey. This is a new recipe which I just learned from Blatt und Dorn ‘(German) but I’ll share it with you either way because I am pretty sure it will turn out amazing. So, use:
- 10 tbsp of honey,
- 20 tbsp of organic apple cider vinegar and
- 2 elderflowers. Use only the flowers in this case, get rid of the stems.
- Put everything in a glass, leave it in a dark spot for about 2 weeks. Shake every now and again.
Once it’s done, you can use it as vinegar for salads, as syrup with soda for the hot days, or just eat it pure and let the healing agents of the elderflower do it’s magic.
For the aforementioned tea, collect elderflowers, dry them on a bed sheet or a cloth towel and that’s it. You’ve made tea. Use about a big spoon full for a cup of tea, enjoy.
There are also the dark elderlower berries we collect and cook as a delicious gel. This gel is really rich in vitamin c, I always gladly take it when I’m sick, especially when I have bronchitis. Here’s what you need:
- about 1 kg of ripe berries
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 500 g gelling agent
- 1Tbsp Lemon juice
Together with cinnamon, sugar and cloves bring 500 ml of water to boil, add the berries and cook for 10-15 min. Then, over a cloth towel, pour the liquid into a bowl. The berries will remain in the towel, squeeze them out until you don’t leave anything behind. If there’s not a whole liter of liquid in the bowl, add a bit of water so you have 1 l. Pour it back into the cooking pot, add the gelling agent and the lemon juice and boil it for about 4 min. When your done, fill it into glass jars which you cleaned with hot water first. You can eat it on bread as well, like a jam, we just use it more like a medicine where we eat about 5 spoons full throughout the day when we are sick.
The Infused Water
Once you’ve made the syrup, the tea and the oxymel and you have still some flowers left over but they aren’t enough to make anything else – make infused water. Add the flowers, a slice of lemon and if you have, some mint and off you go.
That’s it, enjoy elderflower season 🙂