Who knew that this little flower could pack such a tasty punch?
Allow me to introduce you to the elderflower (or Sambucus, also called Vlierbloesem around these parts). These fragrant, white, fluffy clusters cover elderberry bushes and shrubs during the early summer months.
The recipe I’m about to share with you dates all the way back to Roman times, so fasten your seatbeats and get ready for a little trip down memory lane!
Elderflower plants are prolific throughout North Western Europe, where the flowers have been snipped, sweetened, and steeped into a wonderfully refreshing beverage for ages (called vlierbloesemsiroop throughout Holland and Flanders). Although the bushes also grow throughout California, I only learned about elderflowers and elderberries after I moved to Belgium. I give my great friend Reineke full credit for introducing me to this lovely little plant!
The flowers, which have a distinctly sweet scent with a faint hint of citrus, should be picked when freshly opened, avoiding both tightly closed buds and spent, older flowers.
Once you’ve snipped enough flower heads, you should give them a quick dip in water to wash off any bugs and dirt. Avoid prolonged exposure with water, though, in order to preserve the flowers’ flavor.
Then, carefully separate the flowers from the stems.
For the rest of the recipe, all you’ll need is a large bowl (or two), sugar, two lemons and water!
Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients, go ahead and add the zest of one lemon and the juice of two lemons to the flowers.
Bring the water and sugar mixture to a boil (I used two liters of water and 250 grams of sugar). Let the sugar-water cool a bit before pouring the mixture over the flowers.
Now your cordial is ready for steeping!
All that’s left to do is cover your cordial with a towel, store in a cool place to steep and wait for about two days.
If I remember correctly from my first go-around last year, the cordial should thicken up a bit over the two days that it’s left to steep.
Next week I’ll let you guys know how the steeping process goes and how the final product turns out! :)
Have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you on Monday!