When it comes to elderflower syrup I have a mild case of once bitten twice shy. I love the taste of the stuff, but the first time I made it ended in disaster. I overlooked the bit about storing the syrup in the fridge. To cut a long story short, I arrived home from a business trip at midnight on a very hot day in mid June to find that a 750ml bottle of syrup had exploded in the cupboard. The syrup and glass shards were stuck to everything inside the cupboard, but the force had blown the cupboard door open and so it was also on the kitchen floor and all the way down the front of the microwave, fridge and oven. The syrup had begun to ferment and that caused the explosion. To this day the two knobs on the cooker are sticky and hard to twist.[I did briefly consider entitling this post “An Explosion and Two Sticky Knobs” but then thought the better of it].
At the start of last week the elderflowers came into bloom. Needless to say, I was hesitant about making elderflower syrup again. Unsure of how the weather, which has been swinging between 13°C and 30°C lately, would be over the next few days I decided to go ahead and pick some while I had the chance. Number Two and Number Three took it upon themselves to
get in the way help me.
We ended up having so much fun that I decided I really should give the syrup-making another go. And so far, so good. I made the syrup a week ago, put it into the fridge and there have been no explosions so far. [Is this what my life has come to? It is considered good as long as nothing explodes?].
Nothing gets a four year old boy more interested in helping than allowing him to climb a ladder.
Here is the recipe I used:
2.5 kg sugar
1.5 L water
15-25 heads of elderflowers, depending on the size.
Use your largest saucepan. Add the water and the sugar and stir. Turn the heat on low and leave to let the sugar dissolve in the water. Stir every few minutes.
While the sugar is melting, use a potato peeler to peel the rind off the lemons. Set the lemon rind aside. Slice the lemons into thick slices.
Rinse the flowers in cold water to remove any stray leaves, insects, and in our case lots of grass that Number Three picked and threw ino the basin.
Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the liquid to the boil then switch off the heat. Place the flowers, lemon slices and lemon rind into the syrup then cover the saucepan with a lid. Leave the mixture to steep for 24 hours.
The next day line a sieve or colander with a muslin cloth and place it in or over a basin that is large enough for all the syrup. Pour the syrup through the muslin cloth. This will strain out all the lemon, flowers, etc. and leave you with a clear, pale yellow syrup. Bottle the syrup and store in the fridge.