As you may be aware I love a good forage; you never know what you might find. One thing you will inevitably end up with on or in your foraged goods are little critters and bugs. I’m not sure if you can eat them but it’s probably best to try and remove them. You don’t want a sea of grimacing faces when you pour them out a little beetle. I find shaking your booty (don’t confuse with bootie)* outside to get most of them off works well. To be extra stringent I then give it all another shake and wobble in a sieve; I want the assurance that it is indeed a strawberry seed in the finished dish giving that unusual texture rather than an exoskeleton.
You will need (for one small bottle of Elderflower Syrup):
- 3 handfuls elderflowers (see my guide to wild food)
- 150ml boiling water
- 280g caster sugar
Remove the elderflowers from the stems and put them into a bowl. Pour over the boiling water, give it all a stir and then leave overnight to infuse.
The next day put a pan of water on to boil which you can put a bowl on top of; double boiler style. Put the elderflowers and their steeping water into this bowl with the sugar and place on top of the boiling water. Mix the flowers and sugar together over the boiling water until the sugar has dissolved completely.
Sieve the syrup into a sterilised container. I’m keeping mine in the fridge to try and retain some of the freshness and I plan to use it pretty quickly!
I was surprised at the, shall we say, toast colour of the final syrup. Perhaps I included a few too many brown flowers in the thought that it won’t make any difference. It looks a bit like a dark rapeseed oil. Attractive colour aside it tastes incredible. It has the earthy elderflower flavour and aroma that you only get from fresh flowers. It doesn’t smell of much but a quick taste and you’re instantly in the midst of summer. The next few blog posts will be about what I’m cooking up with the syrup.
*I say don’t confuse booty with bootie but if you are planning to partake in a new form of exercise comprising foraging and dancing, or foracing as I have donned it, be my guest.