As I write this the Elderflowers are just appearing on the trees, and it’s rude not to use them! They look and smell quite distinctive so there’s little chance of you mistaking them for anything else, and once your syrup is made you’ll be able to use it throughout the coming year both as a medicine and a food.
How To Use Your Elderflower Syrup
As a medicine, it’s perfect for any cattarhal condition, be it hayfever, sinusitis a cold, or ‘flu. If you also have a temperature, drinking it in hot water will make you sweat and bring your temperature down safely. It’s safe for children, and they love the taste of it too! In Autumn you can make a syrup from the berries, so search this blog for the recipe when the time comes.
As a food, it goes well in sparkling water with some ice and borage flowers, or you can pour it on your ice cream!
How To Make Your Elderflower Syrup
This is a really simple recipe you can make with your children, as it doesn’t even need heat or saucepans.
What you will need
- Elderflowers – about twenty flower heads to start with.
- Sugar – ordinary white granulated is best, since it will not mask the delicate taste of the flowers, but you can use demerara if you prefer.
- Jar – any wide-mouthed jar will do as long as it’s designed to take liquids. Make sure it’s spotlessly clean inside and out.
What to do
- Pick your elderflowers – it is best if they are really fresh. Leave them outside on a tray for an hour or so to let any critters escape, but don’t rinse the flowers as you’ll lose the pollen which helps to give it its medicinal properties.
- Put about half an inch of sugar in the bottom of the jar.
- Using the back of a fork, take the flowers from the flowerheads directly into the jar – it does not matter if a few bits of stalk end up in the jar, but it is the flowers you really want. Do this until about half an inch of flowers are sitting on top of the sugar.
- Put another half an inch of sugar on top of the flowers in the jar.
- Repeat the process until the jar is full, but make sure that you finish with a layer of sugar on top. You may need to go out and pick some more flowers – with practise you all get to know how many you need to fill a jar!
- Leave the jar in a cool place, out of direct sunlight, and give it a gentle shake twice a day. In between shakes, loosen the lid in case the syrup ferments by accident. By the next day your jar is likely to be only half-full, as the sugar and flowers will have compacted down – so if you want to, you can go out and pick some more flowers to fill it up again, putting layers of sugar between, and ending with sugar, just like you did yesterday.
- After six or seven days you should have a lovely syrup – decant it through a sieve to remove the spent flowers. If you want to, add a splash of lemon or lime juice.
- Put your syrup into a sterilised bottle and label it with the date and contents. Store it in a cool, dark place and used it whenever you need it.
What can go wrong?
- If your syrup does not start compacting down and forming within a day, then it is likely that your mixture is too dry – just add a tablespoonful or two of vodka (the purest spirit, but any other will do) to get it started.
- If your syrup does not have a saturated sugar solution, it is likely to ferment – to avoid this, ensure that there is always a little undissolved sugar remaining in the jar or bottle. Never fasten the lid too tightly, so that if by chance it does ferment, the syrup can expand and the bottle will not explode!
Do you need more help with hayfever, sinusitis or recurrent colds? Get in touch now to find out what else herbs can do to help you.