We have several elders bushes on the farm, and they have just started producing their annual crop of creamy-white, musty smelling flowers— a bit later than usual.
I love elder flowers. They have a subtle and light aroma and are traditionally used to make cordial. We also make gallons of elderflower champagne with them, and drink it throughout the summer.
But the real treat is this recipe, which I devised a few years ago. It makes use of the rhubarb which we also have in abundance at this time of the year. This is actually a double recipe, as it makes delicious jam and then, equally delectable cordial–in one go!
- 1 Kg rhubarb stalks
- 1 Kg organic raw cane sugar
- 15 elderflowers
Cut the rhubarb stalks in small chunks (split them first if they are thicker than your finger, you don’t want anything bigger than half an inch). Add the flowers and the sugar and leave overnight in a stainless steel or earthenware pot, stirring occasionally. The sugar will draw the juice from the rhubarb and the mixture will become quite liquid, with bits of rhubarb and elderflowers floating in sweetened rhubarb juice.
Sieve the mixture to drain the solids out and set them aside.
Bring the sweetened rhubarb juice to a boil, stirring occasionally and bottle right away. You have rhubarb and elderflower cordial.
To make the jam, cook the solids for 45 minutes, following instructions for any traditional jam making recipe, then pour into sterilized jars. The result is quite wonderful: the sharpness of the rhubarb combines with the delicate taste of the elderflowers to make a truly special jam.