This summer we have been inundated with elderberries. They have been coming out of our pockets, sleeves, shoes, you name it - we even found a few berries charcoaled in the aga. The elderberry is a berry that many don't seem to use as much as if they were to use a blackberry for instance. But the elderberry is such a strong, tasty berry that can be turned into many delectable things! What we did at the Lodge was to make some elderberry cordial and elderberry syrup - the recipe follows:
What you will need to make the cordial:
A Good Basket Full of Elderberries
A Jar of Honey
A Glug of Water
Method to the madness:
1. To start with, wash the elderberries to get rid of those sneaky insects that like to rest their weary limbs on the branches now and again.
2. Take your fork and run it between the little vein-like branches to pluck off the berries into a large saucepan. You can use your fingers but a fork must have been made for this de-berrying job, not for eating with, but de-berrying.
3. Once removed from the branches and snug in the pan, pour over the water. You need to just cover the berries with the water so be careful not to overload the pan as you need room for the berry juice when it is released from its skin.
4. Simmer the water with the berries in for twenty minutes.
5. Still on the hob, start to press the berries with a masher or something similar to release that dark purple liquid gold.
6. If you think you have squeezed out all of the juice from the berries sieve the residue into another saucepan.
7. Once the elderberry juice is separated, place back on the hob and dissolve the honey in, leave for 10 minutes to boil - this seems a rather a long time but you will need to burn off those enzymes that gives you an icky tummy if you eat them raw!
8. Take off the hob and cool it down.
9. Next, you will have to sterilise a glass bottle. Then pop the elderberry cordial in and then place somewhere safe away from those prying eyes.
If you would like to make a syrup, simply do the procedure once but with very little water. And then again, but the second time, don't put water in again but the cordial you made on the first procedure - so it is essentially double concentrated!
The cordial and syrup are both great with tonic, in a smoothie, or heated up with a little water. They will help sooth a sore throat, help to stop a cough or cold, and also help the immune system along its way!