June is Elderflower picking season, you will find them dotting the woods and hedgerows of Britain at this time of year, with its tiny white flowers hanging in sprays.They’re best picked when the buds are freshly open on a warm, dry, sunny day, well away from traffic fumes. Give them a shake to remove any insects and rinse briefly in cold water before using. Make sure you harvest lightly, just taking a little from each patch and leaving some flowers for bees and moths.
The fragrant flowers are most famous for making elderflower cordial – the perfect summer drink. They can also be used to flavour gins, champagne and make cocktails.
As well as being used to flavour desserts including pannacotta, fools and crème brûlée.
20 sprigs of elderflowers
1.8 lt of water
2 lemons juiced and zest removed
50g citric acid
Heat the water and sugar in a large pan without boiling it, until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Add the citric acid, lemon juice and zest (you can add some orange juice and zest as well if you like) to the water.
Rinse the elderflowers in cold water to remove any dirt and insects. When the liquid has completely cooled, add the elderflowers and cover with a cloth for 24 hours.
The next day strain the liquid through a cloth and store in a sealed bottle until you are ready to enjoy. Dilute with water, lemonade or bubbly and enjoy!