That time of year...

The elderflowers are late this year, but the warm weather has brought them all out and this morning we had no problems collecting a huge bowlful to make the 2006 vintage Elderflower Cordial. Making the base for our favourite drink holds many sad memories for me, but it's therapeutic to remember the good times as well.

Our favourite Elderflower cordial recipe came from The Times a few years back.

1 lemon, grate the rind and slice the fruit

35g citric acid

900g sugar

10 elderflower heads

750ml boiling water

Put sugar in a large bowl and pour on boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Add the grated lemon rind and the rest of the lemon, the citric acid and the flowerheads. Leave for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Sieve through muslin, pour into clean bottles and seal with screwtop caps. Keeps for six months or you can freeze it, leaving room for expansion, of course.

We freeze it in plastic tubs, then defrost and decant into those French lemonade bottles which go in the fridge door. This is the last bottle of the 2005 vintage.

I find the hardest part of this is buying the citric acid powder, which, I am told, has many uses, not all of which are acceptable in polite society. Of course, if you are a fine upstanding member of the community and pillar of the WI as I am, you will have no problems! Otherwise, I can say that a bottle of the delicious liquid taken into the pharmacy as evidence works wonders for next year's citric acid request, especially if taken in on the hottest, stickiest day of the year.


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