Yet another ‘Superfood’. As long as you didn’t go too mad on picking the Elderflowers earlier in the year, the fruit of the Elder Tree can be foraged in Autumn and transformed into a number of delightful offerings. This year we decided on elderberry cordial for its lovely flavour, versatility in the kitchen, and medicinal properties (not only are they packed with antioxidants, but some studies have shown success in prevention and treatment of Influenza).
If you’re making cordial or syrup, you’ll simply require the addition of sugar, water and perhaps a few Cloves or Star Anise.
Starting with your basket of Elderberry heads, the first thing you’ll need to do is separate the berries from the stalks. This is important as Elder foliage is poisonous, but thankfully, it’s rather easy. All you need is a regular fork. Surprisingly satisfying it is too.
Give them a good rinse to remove any creepy crawlies that may be lurking.
Pop them in a large pot or ideally a preserving pan, although not many people have these unlike in the good old days. Top the pan up with just enough water to cover them, and then simmer for about 20 minutes.
Next is to strain the Elderberries through muslin cloth to remove the skins and all the little bits. You’ll be left with a rather attractive looking liquid.
Nearly there. Measure how much liquid you have, and then add about 450g of sugar for each pint (568ml). At this point you can add in some whole Cloves or Star Anise for a bit of background spice. Boil for 10 minutes until thick and then remove any spices.
Bottle it up in sterilised bottles or jars and you’re done. Keep it in your fridge once opened.
The children enjoy it diluted with water – particularly sparkling. Now we’re looking forward to the colder months so we can drink it with hot water.
Next year, Elderberry Liqueur…