I picked a load of elder flowers today and started off some cordial and wine with them. I had plenty left over - if I had had another big bowl I would have done elderflower champagne as well. Perhaps next week.
Make sure only to pick white flowers - when they start to brown they smell like cats pee - not great for a drink! Avoid picking by busy roads and sprayed fields for obvious reasons. Try and make the cordial within 3 hours of picking - don't want that cats pee sneaking in.
20 heads of elder flowers
1 sliced lemon
2 tsp citric acid (I didn't have any so I added the juice of another lemon)
1.2 litres boiling water.
Pour the boiling water over the other ingredients in a large bowl or bucket (I split them between several large jars). Skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Stir in all the sugar and cover with a cloth. Stir twice a day for five days.
Strain through a muslin cloth or fine sieve and bottle in sterile screw top bottles. Store in the fridge. Best used within two weeks but can also be frozen so you can have some summer in the depths of winter!
Grated rind of one lemon
1 pint of elder flowers (shake, but don't press them down and don't add any bits of bitter green stem)
8 pints of boiling water
1.3 kg sugar
Juice of one lemon
Pour boiling water over lemon rind and elder flowers. Allow to stand for 4 days,covered with a cloth and stirring occasionally.
Strain through muslin cloth or fine sieve. Stir in sugar, lemon juice and yeast. Ferment at room temperature (over 18 oC) until all bubbling has stopped. Stir and allow to settle for three days. Strain again, carefully. Put into a demijohn and bottle after maturing three months.