Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Little Bit of Summer Bliss

Last fall we went foraging for elderberries when we made our first batch of wine.  It is coming along nicely and we are excited to bottle it this coming fall.  In the last couple of weeks the elderberry bushes have been full of flowers.  We decided to scope out locations of the plants now, because the flowers really make them stand out.  This way when we head out this fall, we should be able to find them more readily.  Since we were out anyway, we took a large brown paper bag and filled it with elderflowers.  I have heard so much discussion about how elderflower cordial is amazing, and since I'm in the cordial making kind of mood, we did just that. 

This was a great task to get the whole family involved with.  Since the stems are mildly toxic, we needed to remove all of the flowers.  This process was surprisingly easy and we found they brushed off quite well.

What we ended up with was just over eight cups of elderflowers.  We began by making a simple syrup in a stockpot of 5 cups of sugar and 3 quarts of water.  We cooked it until all of the sugar was completely dissolved.  While that was happening we transfered the flowers into a small crock and combined the grated the zest of one lemon and juice of three.  We were winging it on this recipe due to the volume of flowers and several of the recipes we found all had different techniques.

What is different about making this cordial as compared to the fruit cordials that I have been pumping out, is that instead of  cooking, macerating, and then straining the fruit into beautiful cordials, this one steeps like a tea.  Once that simple syrup was completed we poured it over the flowers and citrus, covered the crock and let it steep for three days. 

At the end of that time, we strained it and transferred it into quart jars that are now in the fridge and ready to use.  It was a little sweet for our taste so we added some of our acid blend (that we had on hand for wine making) to it.  This could also have been accomplished by adding more lemon juice.  We included these cute little jars in this weeks farm bags. 

One thing that I am loving about this cordial is that a little goes a long way, therefore allowing the amount we made to last longer.  I have found with the fruit cordials, I use more of them to get the desired taste/effect.  With the elderflower, we use 2 (me) to 4 (B) Tbsp. to 8 oz of liquid.  So seltzer water for soda.  I'm looking forward to trying it as part of a martini, maybe this evening.  This refreshing cordial tastes like elderflowers smell and that is a little bit of summer bliss.

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