Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Time to Make Elderflower Syrup

Elder Sambucus niger is a common small tree in the Touraine. The wood is soft, so it doesn't have a commercial value. But from May to early July elder produces gazillions of tiny creamy white flowers held in flat clusters all over the tree, fragrant and smothered in yellow pollen.
The flowers have been used as part of the suite of ancient herbal remedies in Europe for centuries, for coughs and colds. Modern research suggests that they may indeed be effective against sinusitus, and can lower blood sugar.

The flowers can be used to make a subtle but delicious variation on lemonade. Pick them while they are at their peak, and have plenty of pollen still.  My recipe for elder flower syrup is here. You can bottle it as above or freeze it in icecube trays and use it from frozen (this brilliant suggestion comes from our friend Roger).

8 comments:

  1. I'm definitely going to try this recipe this year. I like the idea of freezing the syrup. When I open a bottle of the commercial stuff we struggle to use it within the specified time. I might even try freezing some of that.

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    1. It turns into a sort of disgusting bacterial slime if you don't use it in time, so freezing in batches is definitely the go. Let me know when the elderflowers along the bief are out and I'll come over and steal some :-)

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  2. Can't believe this was your house when you bought it!

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    1. Indeed. Unpromising looking isn't it?!

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  3. Oh, so that's what that is. Sureau. It grows on the edges of the vineyard.

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  4. So its been a year or more since our rivulet-side expedition. That could be depressing...

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  5. Your post giving the recipe is from 10th June, Our elderflowers are coming out nicely now. I thought things were coming on early this year, but I didn't realise it was that early! Pauline
    PS chard and bettroot plants ready to go if you'd like some.

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