Foraging may be a bit of a dying art, for most people, it’s just blackberry picking in late Summer. But June offers some great foraging opportunities in the form of elder flowers.
The elder bush is native to the British isles and is a very commonly found in hedgerows in the Irish country side. It produces masses of creamy-white, fragrant blossoms in June. Elder flowers have long been used all over Europe for making many home-made wine and cordial, and I have posted elsewhere on this blog a recipe using elder flowers in jam making.
But possibly my favourite way of using elder flowers is this simple fizz recipe:
- 500g organic raw cane sugar
- 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon organic cider vinegar
- 5 to 10 elderflowers
- 5 litres of water
Harvest the elder flowers when they are just coming in bloom on a sunny morning. The rowan (mountain ash) comes in bloom around the same time, and the flowers are somewhat similar, but the fragrance of elderflower should be enough to dispel any confusion.
Do not wash the flowers, just shake the insects off. Cut off as much of the stalks as possible.
Chop the lemon. Put all the ingredients in a plastic bucket and leave for 3 days, stirring twice a day.
Filter and bottle in in glass beer bottles or other type of bottles strong enough to handle the pressure (which can be enough to blow up an ordinary bottle). It will keep for a few weeks. Be careful when opening the bottles, it can be very fizzy!