I don’t know if I’ve already mentioned, and I probably have a million times by now, but I love this time of year! The allotment is thriving and growing greener and fuller everyday, the weather has been beautiful and there’s endless amounts of elderflower out in bloom all over the UK. My favourite foraged treat and one that marks the start of Summer, a most welcome sight too.
I remember the first time I went foraging for elderflower back in 2014, I made champagne and cordial and practically lived on the stuff! I fell instantly in love with the smell, the taste, and that excitement when you spot a huge bush full to the brim with flower heads. Four years on and things haven’t changed, I still get excited and shout out in the car everytime we pass an elderflower bush which usually scares my Dad half to death!
There’s a spot in my village which I head to every single year so on the way back from dropping parcels off at the shop I decided to drive round to see if they were in bloom… funnily enough on the drive there I spotted the mother load of elderflower heads and it was only roughly 30 metres from my usual foraging spot. If only I had cycled a little further round the corner all those years ago I would have died and gone to elderflower heaven! I couldn’t quite believe my luck so I headed back there that very evening to pick the heads with my Mum.
I took the biggest basket I could find and we both snipped away at the bush, collecting well over 100 flower heads. That’s enough to make 3 gallons of elderflower champagne, atleast 6 bottles of elderflower cordial, a few bottles of strawberry and elderflower cordial and some infused gin and vodka too! Plus we left plenty for the bees and the birds and to later turn into elderberries. I’ve only ever foraged for elderberries once and remember picking just enough to make 2 bottles of syrup so I’m excited to venture back here in the Autumn to pick a basket full of the berries and possibly make some wine this year.
I arrived home that evening full of smiles and excitement to get busy in the kitchen but first I headed to Asda to get some supplies including bags of lemons, sugar and a bottle vodka… I got some funny looks from the cashier! I started straight away on making the champagne and infused vodka which I’ll be adding strawberries too for a little twist. I’m hoping the flowers will keep for a day or so, I’m waiting rather impatiently for some citric acid to arrive before I can make the cordial. I always leave it too late to buy the acid and the shops are always sold out!
Of course I’ll be sharing all the recipes with you on here so head on out and forage some elderflower for yourself, you’ll have so much fun! You can’t have Summer without some homemade elderflower cordial after all, plus I’m looking forward to sipping some of that champagne on a hot Summer’s day on the farm.