Yesterday, Anna and I braved tall weeds and a wetland beside the road home to pick some elderflower heads for cordial. It's amazing how each elderberry plant has it's own scent. Some are very, very faintly scented, others smell earthy (or as Anna says, "like dirt"), and then you come across the plants that are heavenly, flowery sweet - those are the plants you want to pick from. The flower heads are best picked on a hot, dry day, when most of the flowers have opened, but there are still a few in bud. They are beautiful flowers, aren't they?
After collecting about two dozen very sweet-smelling flower clusters, we picked through them for little bugs. And there were many - what bug wouldn't want to live amongst the elderflowers?
Then we put the flowers in a bowl with the zest from 3 lemons and poured 6 1/2 cups of boiling water over them to infuse (covered with a dish towel) for 24 hours...
Tomorrow we will strain the liquid, boil it with 4-5 cups of sugar and the juice from the 3 lemons, and then can the syrup for a little taste of summer all year long. Excellent diluted with seltzer, although the traditional way to drink elderflower cordial, I believe, is with champagne!