When you take a walk at this time of the year in the Tirolean mountain valleys, you will come across blossoming bushes and trees and sometimes you will even notice pollen fluffs floating and dancing around and across the fields. Well at times it even looks like as if it is snowing! Just that in the end, you ll know, with the warm scent of recently cut fields hanging in the air, that this can only be a late spring, beginning summer day. The birds and other animals are keeping an eye on their little ones and bees are diligently doing their duty. All the natural development is happening to our joy in front of our eyes. What more can we ask for?
Of course I know what can complete a hot mountain day and I am not the only one here around who will get the idea! Those who have the time will gladly go for a walk, hoping to come across a flowering unique bush. The particular bush’s odor will hit your nose like a refreshing gentle slap. It is recognizable from far, that this lovely fragrance can only be a delicious elderflower tree. For locals it is commonly known as Hollunder or Holunder in English. Many folks out there will remember the elderberries more for some reason, but here around the flowers are the stars of the season and that too for a couple of generations now!
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In fact Elderflower cordial has been produced in local central European homes for ages. Apparently, the good old wikipedia mentiones, that even the Romans used to prepare this sweet delight each season. We usually dilute it with plain fresh alpine water or sometimes even with soda water. Holunder cordial has got a tradition in my native home and I remember having it as kid in masses! Especially on those fun days when the farmers would cut the fields and we would help to rake the hay from the field sides. Somebody would keep a tray of glasses with diluted refreshing Holunder syrup ready and we would enjoy every single drop of the sweet goodness!
The shrub itself grows in Europe, North & South America and Australia, so maybe it might be growing in your neighborhood! Not only the blossoms have a culinary use but also the berries, it might be a lucrative idea of getting one of those shrubs/ small treas into your own garden. In Austria Eldershrub/tree cultivations are quite a common sight, so you see it’s not a totally rare and unknown plant, just that the knowledge around it’s culinary usage is stuck with the locals. More reason and excitement for me to share elderflower recipe ideas in the future, you won’t believe what exciting delicacies you ll be able to plate up with the elderflower pretty soon!
- 3 l cold Water
- 20 fresh big opened Elderflower heads
- 4 kg Sugar
- 6 Lemons peeled
- 100 g Citric acid powder
- Big Bucket, Barrel type
- Cooking spoon
- Big long Ladle
- Big funnel
- Big Strainer
- sterilized Bottles to fill
- Rinse the flowers and remove roughly the main stem. Leave the flowers on the rest of the greenery.
- Add to the big bucket the 3 l water, 4 kg sugar and flowers.
- Peel the Lemons and cut them roughly into fat slices.
- Add the Lemon slices and the Citric acid powder and mix the whole content well with the cooking spoon.
- Leave it to stand, covered, for around 2 days. Keep on stirring throughout the day once or twice so that it all gets well mixed.
- After 2 days you can strain and bottle the syrup as shown. Press the syrup out of the blossoms and lemon pieces to get the maximum out of your home made syrup.
- Enjoy with water as a refreshing cooler in the summer months!