We were having a little trundle along a canal tow path this afternoon when we happened upon a cluster of elderflower trees, and the berries were just about ripe.
After filling a bag up, we headed home where I gave them a good wash and removed the berries from the stalks by running a fork though them (think brushing knotty hair with a comb!).
I’d thought about doing a flavoured gin with the berries, but alas, didn’t have enough gin in, and didn’t fancy heading out to the shops, so I found a basic recipe for cordial online, but changed it up a bit. This cordial really is a taste of Autumn with its warming spice and rich flavour.
After washing the berries and removing them from the stalks, put them in a saucepan and cover them with water. Quantity really doesn’t matter here, just put enough water in to cover them. Add in a couple of cinnamon sticks, star anise, a few cloves and the rind of a lemon and boil, stiring occasionally, for twenty minutes.
When the twenty minutes is up, strain the mixture through a muslin lined sieve into a jug. Squeeze the muslin to get as much juice out of the berries as possible, before discarding.
Make a note of the quantity of juice before pouring from the jug into a clean pan. Add in an equal quantity of sugar, I used half caster and half demerara, and the juice of one lemon. Let it boil for about 15 minutes, stiring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved and the cordial is syrupy. Decant into a sterilised bottle and leave to cool before storing in the fridge.
This is delicious served warm, or cold over ice with sparkling water or lemonade. It’s also delicious added to a G&T or martini.