After the success of our Edible Plant Identification walk on Sunday 1st June, we thought we would share with you some of the highlights of what we found and some tips for recipes.
Remember that it’s crucial with any foraging that you are 100% confident that the plant you are picking is safe for consumption. Do not pick any plant you are unsure about.
So our Edible Plant of the Day today is…Elderflower which is in plentiful abundance all over the marshes right now.
The elder tree in the past was known as ‘the poor man’s pharmacy’ due to its abundance and renowned medicinal properties. Whilst the leaves,bark and stems are poisonous and should not be eaten, both the flowers which appear in early summer and the berries, which appear in early autumn, are full of goodness. Today you can buy expensive and delicious elderflower drinks, but did you know that you can make your own?
So here is a tried and tested internet recipe for Elderflower Cordial which we recommend:
You may want to start off checking out: Top Tips for Making Elderflower Cordial
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Steeping of flowers: 48 hours
Total Time: 48 hours, 40 minutes
- 1k /2 ¼ lbs sugar
- 1.5 litres / 6 cups boiling water
- 4 medium lemons, washed
- 30 large Elderflower heads, shake to remove any insects
- 55g / 2 oz citric acid (available from a chemist)
- Place the sugar into a large saucepan/stockpot or a large Pyrex bowl. Pour the boiling water over and stir until all the sugar has dissolved and leave to cool.
- Grate the rind of the lemons with a fine grater, add to the sugar water.
- Slice the lemons into thick slices and add to the water. Add the citric acid and stir, then finally add the flower heads to the water and stir again.
- Cover with a clean cloth and leave to steep for 48 hours.
- Strain through clean fine muslin cloth into a clean bowl.
- Using a funnel, fill sterilized bottles (see note below). Seal and store in a cool, dark place (not the refrigerator) for a few weeks or freeze in plastic bottles to keep for longer (see note below).
The cordial is delicious diluted with still or fizzy water or used as a flavouring in ice creams, fruit fools and many, many other recipes using Elderflower Cordial.
Once a bottle is opened store in the refrigerator.
Note To sterilize the bottles , rinse in the dishwasher, or place in a medium hot oven (300°F/150°C) until the bottles are warmed through but not red-hot.
If you want your Elderflower Cordial to last longer than a few weeks you will need to preserve the cordial by sterilising in a water bath. Not as difficult as it sounds and you can see the method in Top Tips for Making Elderflower Cordial