Elderflowers

There is a 100m stretch of hedgerow in the first meadow that has unfortunately been planted up with a mix of plants that includes Elder. The problem with this is that Elder is much more vigorous than the other plants on the mix and so it outgrows everything else and dominates. When the Elder loses its leaves in the winter, there are then big holes in the hedgerow where the Elder trees are.

However, having lots of Elder trees also has its compensations and one of these is the making of Elderflower liqueur!

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Gathering the flower heads from an Elder down by the pond

I have not made this before but found a recipe on the Country Living website and decided to give it a go. It involved cutting 15 flowers and giving them a shake to remove insects. Well, there were very few insects on the flowers but, the ones that there were, were certainly not removed by shaking. So I tried washing:

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This also did not remove the insects. After all, if shaking and washing did remove them, they’d have been long gone by now with the wind and rain.

So I picked them all off by hand. I then mixed them with a litre of vodka, 350g of sugar (so much sugar) and the zest of a lemon.

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And out them into a lidded pot.

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It would have been so much better if I’d had a Kilner jar that was properly leak proof because this pot is not and every time I shake it I get vodka running down my arms. However, the pot now needs to go into a cool, dark place for at least a month being shaken every little while to dissolve the sugar.

Once that time is up, it is sieved through muslin and decanted into sterilised bottles.

Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

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