Hello, it’s Wendy from Moral Fibres again! I’m back with another ‘Food from the ‘tube’ recipe that you can make from plants growing along the Innertube network.
June marks the arrival of the elderflower season, and what better way to celebrate it by making a batch of elderflower vodka? It really couldn’t be easier, and elderflower is abundant along the Innertube network, so chances are you won’t have to cycle far to find it (just don’t take it all!).
You will need:
A 1 litre capacity jar
About 15 elderflower heads (see below for how to identify and pick elderflowers)
1 litre of cheap vodka
One large lemon
5 tablespoons of sugar
Tips for Picking Elderflowers
Elderflowers are quite easy to spot – just look for a white flowering bush, with delicate flowers and a distinct sambuca like smell. If in doubt I found a handy elderflower identification guide that you might find useful. If you’re still in doubt don’t pick anything and ask an expert!
It’s best to pick elderflowers in the morning of a dry sunny day, when the flowers are at their most fragrant. This apparently translates to a richer sweeter flavour, but if it’s late afternoon don’t worry too much! Avoid picking at ground level (dogs!) – pick from the higher branches. You also want to make sure that you pick creamy white flower heads – anything brown or a bit discoloured may taste a bit bitter. Give the flowerheads a good shake before you put them in your bag to dislodge any insects too – you don’t want any uninvited guests in your vodka!
Once you get home dip your elderflowers in water and give them a good shake to dry. Peel a lemon, and keep the peel to the side.
Add your flowers to a sterilised jar, adding the lemon peel as you go so it’s evenly distributed in the jar. Keep going until you’ve added as much elderflower as the jar will hold and all of the lemon peel.
Add 5 teaspoons of sugar, about 5 mls of juice from your lemon, and pour in the vodka until you’ve completely submerged all of the elderflowers. Screw the lid on and give the jar a good shake. Leave for four weeks in a cool dark place, shaking occasionally to mix the sugar in.
During the four weeks it’s really worth occasionally opening your jar to check that the vodka is still covering the elderflowers otherwise the top ones might go a bit brown and make it taste a bit bitter. If this happens just take out the brown flowers and top up with more vodka.
Once your four weeks are up sieve your mix to remove the flowers and lemon peel, and decant your flavoured vodka into a sterilised bottle or jar. It will keep for onwards of a year.
You can drink your cordial straight over ice, or add some lemonade, tonic or soda water for a refreshing summer drink.
You can also add any flavours you want to your elderflower cordial. I added a punnet of local raspberries in another jar as and it turned out beautifully. Elderflower cordial tastes like summer at the best of times, but the addition of raspberries was extra summery!