Elderflower Syrup making season is here! This year the North Carolina Elderberries are flowering at the same time as the honeysuckle and wild multiflora rose. There is no better time to be outside harvesting elderflowers! Plus, you don’t have to grow elderberries to have access to elderflowers; take a drive in the countryside and be on the look out for the big lacy blooms along the road (see picture on the right as a reference). You’ll find more than you need for this recipe; be sure to bring your scissors with you. (And, if fresh flower season has passed, don’t despair…dried elderflowers work just as well! Visit our store, just one bag is enough to make this recipe.)
Equipment needed: Fine grater, two large mason jars (6 cup capacity), two clean cloths and two rubber bands.
5 2/3 cup organic sugar
6 1/4 cups water
15 to 16 large Elderflower heads or 30 small to medium Elderflower heads (shaken to remove bugs and dirt). Harvesting flowers that are not fully open works best-they don’t drop off the stem and are easier to remove. (Alternatively, you can substitute 2 cups of dried elderflowers for the fresh flower heads).
Combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring, to make a simple syrup. Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature before proceeding, as putting the flowers in hot syrup will ruin the flavor.
When the syrup is cool and you are ready, finely grate the rinds of all 4 lemons and add the grated lemon peel to the syrup. Remove the ends of the lemons and thickly slice each lemon into 5 slices. Divide the lemon slices equally between the two large mason jars (should have 10 slices per jar). Remove the flowers from the stems; the stems have a bitter flavor so do your best to keep them to a minimum! Divide the flowers evenly between the two mason jars and add the flowers to the jars. Divide the syrup evenly between the two jars and pour the syrup over the lemons and flowers. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to macerate for two days in your refrigerator.
Remove the syrup from your refrigerator and pour it through a fine sieve to remove the flowers and lemon slices. Using a funnel, fill sterilized bottles with the syrup. Seal and store in the refrigerator.
For longer storage at room temperature, bring the strained syrup to a boil. Pour it into clean canning jars or bottles leaving 1/2-inch of head space. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Once sealed, the syrup will keep at room temperature for at least a year (store opened jars in the refrigerator).
1. Add an ounce or two to sparkling water for a refreshing and delicious homemade soda.
2. Use in Cocktails. Elderflower Syrup mixed with Champagne or other sparkling wine makes an amazing drink, perfect for a special brunch.
3. Use to flavor sorbet or ice-cream….wow! See our Elderflower Sorbet recipe.
4. Use in place of sugar to macerate strawberries, blueberries, blackberries etc..