30 elderflower heads
3 lemons (unwaxed, organic if possible)
3 lbs sugar
4 pints boiling water
2 oz citric acid (around 56gm)
I rarely get asked for recipes – but this one works well, I’ve done it 3 times now. I’m afraid I can’t remember where I got it from, it’s scribbled on the back of an old bill, so I suspect I probably copied it out of a magazine, but I really don’t know! Anyway, here goes….
The elderflower heads aren’t any particular variety, I just cut whole flower heads with scissors from the many wild trees around me, best picked fully open but before any brown appears on them, on a sunny or at least fine dry day, I try to take them from several different trees, well away from any roads to avoid dust and pollution.
Shake the flower heads to dislodge any insects. Cut the flower heads from the stalks using scissors, so you include as much as possible of the white flowers and as little as possible of the stalks, into a large bowl or other suitable receptacle, preferably one with a lid (I use a white plastic winemaking bucket). Add the sugar. Pour on the boiling water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the juice and grated rind from the lemons. Add the citric acid. (Citric acid can be hard to find, but Wilkinsons stocks it in their winemaking section) Stir. Cover with lid or similar.
Leave for 3 days, stirring each morning and evening.
Strain and bottle.
Dilute to taste. I used tap water, but it’s also nice with sparkling water.
If kept in the fridge will keep for several months.