Elderflower and Lemon Syrup
The creamy coloured fragrant flowers of Elder paired with fresh lemon present one of the finest flavours in my opinion. This syrup will flavour cake fillings, fruit salads, ice creams, summer puddings, pavlova, fresh fruits and diluted with sparkling water will make the best summer non-alcoholic drink ! I make a large batch and once cool bottle into plastic bottles and place in the freezer so that I can enjoy this syrup all year long. The syrup will keep in the fridge for six weeks.
The end of May to the end of June is the short season where I live for elderflowers. The creamy white flowers are tiny and held in clusters and the perfume is pleasing but not as delicious as the resultant flavour of the syrup.
I collect my flowers in a fine mesh bag that holds onto the flowers but any bugs or flies in the flowers are able to leave the bag whilst I am out walking with them. Look for fresh flowers not those that are brown and beginning to fade and collect those that are at eye level or above so that dogs have not been near when looking for a toilet spot. I do not wash the blooms just give them a gentle tap so that any hidden bugs drop out.
Once home use your flowers straight away. Cut the green stalks from the blooms then weigh your harvest and adjust the other ingredients accordingly.
Place the sugar in the large pan, pour over the water and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves and the water is clear. Add then the citric acid (which will preserve the syrup) and stir until this too dissolves in the warm water.
Pare the zest from the two lemons and add to the syrup then slice the zested fruits thinly and add them to the pan. Add in then all the flower heads, stir and bring to the boil. Once boiling turn off the heat, give a final stir, put a lid on the pan and transfer to a cool place and leave for 24 hours.
The next day strain the syrup through a fine piece of muslin or jelly bag secured over a colander hooked over a second saucepan.
Once strained boil the syrup once more then turn off the heat. Either bottle straight away in sterilised bottles that have been in the oven at 100 degrees for 15 minutes or leave the syrup to cool and pour into plastic bottles to be kept in the fridge for up to six weeks or freeze for a year. Remember to allow some headroom in the bottle if freezing.
Once chilled the syrup may look cloudy but just give it a shake and it will clear.
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