It’s that time of the year again where there are elderberry bushes in bloom at every corner. These bushes (or sometimes trees) grow wild pretty much everywhere around here and it always amazes me that hardly anyone knows what they are or “uses” them.
I made elderberry syrup two years ago but found that we didn’t use the rich syrup very often. So this year I wanted to try the lighter version – syrup from the flowers to add to cold drinks.
Making elderflower syrup is very easy, as attested by the fact that I made it between working late and hurrying off to yoga class on a monday evening.
You’ll need a couple (maybe 20-30 at max) elderflower heads, lemons (I used three), sugar and plain water.
I think everyone makes their syrup differently, but here’s how I did it: I stripped the flowers off the plant as well as I could, placed them in a pot and covered them with water. It’s important not to wash the flowers before or you’ll lose the pollen that makes the syrup so yummy.
I left the flowers to soak in the water overnight (this also gives the creepy crawlies time to escape) and then strained the now bright-yellow water through a coarse sieve first and through cheesecloth afterwards. Somewhere in between I added the juice from the three lemons
Now you could use that water to make the syrup right away but I didn’t want to boil it long in case it lost flavour. So instead I boiled down 1 litre of plain water with about 1.5-2kg sugar until it thickened into a nice sticky syrup, then added the elderflower water and brought the mixture back to the boil for a short time.
Now all that’s left is fill the hot syrup into canning jars and bottles (I usually give them a spin in the dishwasher first or, as in this case, sterilize them in boiling water). And you’re done!
The syrup is very sweet and the flavour is heavenly. Add to ice water on a hot day and enjoy.