In Season September - Elderberries
As soon as the bushy white flowers of the elder tree disappear we know it won't be long until those delicious, vitamin C packed, purple/black, round juicy elderberries will arrive. Hanging in clumps from the heavily-laden branches they're not difficult to spot - or harvest. All you need is a carrier bag and a good pair of scissors and just a few minutes spent picking the best clumps from the tree will reward you with a bag full of berries in next to no time.
For centuries, they have been used to make wine and syrups and they are delicious added to apple pies. Alternatively, why not make them into cordial which tastes superb added to champagne in place of Cassis or simply dilute with water to make a delicious, additive free, nutrient packed drink for the kids.
How to make elderberry cordial.
Wash the elderberries thoroughly (approximately 20 sprigs) by plunging them in a bowl of cold water & allowing the dirt / bugs/ leaves to float and be skimmed off Check through them and remove any under-ripe berries. Gently pull the berries off the stalks, either by rubbing along the stalk with your fingers or using a dinner fork. Put the berries in a pan with the juice and rind of one lemon and 200g of sugar. Simmer gently for 10 minutes and taste to test the sweetness. Add more sugar if you need to. When the berries are soft (about 20 minutes) and the juice has thickened, the syrup is ready. Push through a sieve to remove the pips. When cool, store in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.