Elderflowers Abundant in West Ealing

A group of us went out picking elderflowers yesterday and found rich pickings in Walmer Gardens and particularly Elthorne Park. We hurried back to my house to start the cordial making process and reckon from this batch we’ll get around 70 bottles of cordial that we will be selling at Hanwell Carnival on the 18th June.

Diluted with fizzy water and a slice of lemon, the cordial makes a lovely summer drink – come along early to Hanwell Carnival to avoid disappointment!

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elderflower weekend and cordial making 14th/15th May 2011

A group of us are planning to pick several hundred elderflower heads on Saturday morning, May 14th – weather permitting. We might do a repeat ‘pick’ on Saturday morning, May 21st. We’ve found a location where they’re quite prolific, in the ‘fields’ beyond Elthorne Park, although you’d need wellies to wade through nettles in some places, and a crooked stick to pull down the high branches.

We’ll be following the recipe on here https://westealingabundancew13.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/292/ which we used last year to produce the cordial which went down very well at Hanwell Carnival and will will be selling again at this years Carnival on the 18th June, as well as Pitshanger Party in the Park on the 26th June.

Anyone who is interested in knowing more, or getting involved, please email wenabundance@gmail.com.

Gooseberry and Elderflower Jam

900gms gooseberries, topped and tailed (nail scissors are useful for this)
600ml water
900gms granulated sugar
juice of 1 lemon (if the fruit is ripe and or has been frozen)

For every 450gms of under-ripened fruit use 300ml of water. Ripened or frozen fruit needs less water around 250ml per 450gm of fruit.

Place fruit and water in a heavy based pan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for around 20 minutes until the skins are soft as they will not soften after the sugar has been added.

Add sugar at the rate of 450gm of sugar for every 450ml of fruit used. Stir, without boiling, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and continue a rapid boil till the jam sets – this should be in around 15mins. Check after 10 mins to see if nearing setting point.

When set, remove from heat and remove any scum, add the elderflower cordial at the rate of a table spoon per 450gms of fruit, and gently stir through. Test for taste, it should be subtle taste, rather than strong. Do not add too much more as it could hinder the final set.

Rest the jam for a couple of minutes before filling and sealing the jars.

Cool then label.

Note: green gooseberries often go pink when cooked so the jam will have a lovely pink colouring

Elderflower Cordial

Elderflower Cordial
The Country Store

Ingredients:

Makes 2.25 litres/around 4 pints

1.5kg/3 ½ lbs granulated sugar (cane sugar)
50g/2oz citric acid (available from chemists)
25-30 large elderflower heads (use more if they are small) gently wash and very gently shake to dispel any lingering insects and water.
2 lemons unwaxed, sliced

Dissolve sugar in 1.5litres/2 ½ pints of hot (boiled) water, stirring till dissolved, and leave to cool. When cool stir in the citric acid and add the elderflower and sliced lemon.

Cover and leave to infuse for two days (48hrs) at room temperature. Stir occasionally.

On the third day, strain through a fine sieve lined with muslin TWICE (or a new J-cloth rinsed out in boiling water) pour into clean dry sterilised bottles and pasteurise for 20 minutes at 85oC. Store in a cool, dark place. To serve, dilute to taste with still or sparkling mineral water.

Pasteurised cordial can be stored in a cool and dark place for a few months. If you do not wish to pasteurise your cordial, you should store it in the fridge for no longer than a few weeks.

Top Tips

Pick the elderflowers if possible early morning though any time during the day is OK provided it is not really hot.

Choose a period of dry weather. Avoid picking when raining or after rain.

Choose flowers which have only just opened. Leave those which have gone brown or those that the petals fall off if you gently shake them.

Never pick elderflowers from the roadside.

As well as drinking, it makes a lovely sorbet and also really enhances gooseberries if you had a tablespoon when gently poaching them.