Saturday, 13 June 2020

Where Elderflowers Grow



Watching the rain through the window just now, it could be difficult to imagine how different the weather was just a matter of days ago. The sun was shining and the breeze was soft and warm, perfect for collecting elderflowers.

In these parts there are an abundance of elder trees, especially amongst the hedgerows, although they often go unnoticed until the beginning of June when they become covered in large creamy white flower heads. Therefore, with a bag in hand and a small pair of scissors just in case, off I went on my mission, certain in the knowledge I would be able to gather more than enough flower heads to make some delicious cordial. Previously, I have gathered my flowers whilst enjoying one of our favourite walks, but with this being inaccessible for the time being I needed to source some a little closer to home.






The flowers I wanted were easy to reach - often the large blossoms are typically much too high or obstructed by thorny branches and nettles - so I soon had enough for my needs and we continued up and along the side of the hill, pausing along the way to spot a wide variety of wildflowers, moths and caterpillars.
During a brief pause for a rest Lily asked me why I had a yellow nose. Being a little relieved not to have passed anyone else by this point, I realised my face had a light dusting of pollen from all the elderflower I had been sniffing. Oh well, their delightful scent had proved a little too tempting for me 😊


On returning home I prepared the syrup, the flowers and lemon steeping in the sugary mixture overnight soon filled the kitchen with their delicately sweet aroma.

In the same way that making wild garlic pesto marks the arrival of spring for me, the making of elderflower cordial is another indicator of the year passing by. In little over a week the longest day will be behind us and very soon it will be raspberry season.  This week I feel as though I've been a little more productive, and with a very gradual shift towards a semblance of normal life resuming again I'm beginning to feel a little more optimistic. Other concerns have been alleviated for the moment, so I'm feeling grateful for this time to be able to sit back and appreciate what is important.

Next week I have plans to visit a National Trust garden and I'm looking forward to being able to take small tentative steps out into the world again.

Stay well.
J. X

76 comments:

  1. It's lovely to mark the passing seasons in this way. I'm sure your elderflower cordial will be delicious.

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    1. It is delicious, Jo :) I always look forward to elderflower season. X

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  2. Wish I could have some of your elderflower cordial, it looks and sounds lovely. And your yellow nose made me smile! Take care.

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    1. I couldn't think what it was when Lily told me. Thankfully, no one else had seen me. X

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    1. It won't have quite the same kick as your fizz but it is delicious and refreshing. X

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  4. A lovely drink, my husband is watching some elder flowers here as he makes elderflower champagne. which is rather nice.

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    1. I've often thought about making elderflower champagne but I've heard too many stories of exploding bottles :)

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  5. I'm sure your cordial will be delicious, it's a taste I love but have never made cordial myself. That made me chuckle your having a yellow nose, I wonder how long you'd had it before Lily mentioned it. Enjoy your day out, the National Trust properties will be so pleased to be welcoming visitors again.

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    1. It's so simple to make, Eileen, you should give it a try. I don't think my nose had been yellow for all that long, but looking back now it could have been longer than I fist thought. Lily did exactly the same yesterday, however :)

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  6. Longest day, hard to believe we are almost there already.
    Good job you donf suffer hayfever with a nose dusted in pollen lol.
    Take care x

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    1. These last few months have gone by much too fast. X

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  7. How lovely to have these natural markers of the year. I see a bit of foraging around here, it's not something I've ever really done as I grew up in a place with a large chemical industry so there was lots of pollution.

    Enjoy your visit and soft launch back into the world!

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    1. It's wise to pick and choose where you forage. For some reason all the really large elderflower heads are out of reach or close to main roads. X

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  8. We've had an overcast day with some sunshine. The day has been warm and pleasant and we were going to walk on the beach, but there we too many 'out of towners'. They were having a fun time I'm sure, but it was to much for us so we went for a more local walk. I'm glad you've been able to make your elderflower cordial. Enjoy your day out and take care. Best, Jane x

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    1. The weather has been a real mix lately. It's back to being dry and sunny again now. X

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  9. Lovely photos of your elderflower walk. We've had a warm and sunny day today and it's been utter bliss, I've missed the sunshine these last few days.
    My friend Liz is the queen of elderflower champagne,I just keep drinking rum and cola to keep her in bottles! xxx

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    1. Thanks, Vix. The weather has since picked up again and it's been very warm and humid here today. It's very generous of you to keep your friend well supplied in this way :)

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  10. A delightful brew! Gathering, making and enjoying. All delightful. -smile-

    We are almost cold today! But the heat is to return next week. We will see.

    This evening I think we will have a fire in the fireplace. Since we only do this, in in-between weather. To have one in winter, simply sucks heat out of the house.

    But it will be quite nice, on this cool, cool evening, in June. -smile-

    Gentle hugs,
    🌸💛🌷💛🌸

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    1. A cosy fire is sure to take the chill off your evening. I hope you see a return to some warmer temperatures very soon. X

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  11. I still have some cordial from last year and champagne, so I'm giving it a miss this year. It's a lovely refreshing drink with icecold sparkling water.

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    1. That's also my favourite way of drinking it. X

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  12. Your elderflower cordial sounds delightful! Too funny about the yellow nose! :D I'm glad to read that you are feeling a little more optimistic and less stressed. Enjoy the week ahead and have a sip of that cordial for me! I'll have a little of my peach lemonade in return! :)

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    1. Thank you, Bless. I'm very envious of your peach lemonade. You can probably tell I have a sweet tooth. X

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  13. Oh elder flowers, how I love thee!! Yes, they grow wild here in Tasmania too although just in some spots. We have one at our house (which is rented out at the moment) and have made cordial from it....the smell is just too delightful. Imagine my delight when I went to Austria a few years back and was given a mixed drink contained elderflower cordial? I hunted online for the recipe and recreated it with our own ;o)

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    1. It's delicious, and so simple to make too! There are plenty of elder trees here, it's just a case of searching out the best ones. X

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  14. I can smell it from here........

    Julie xxxxxxxx

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  15. Raspberry season - I can taste them as I read this - they're so lovely!
    xx

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    1. That's the next thing I'm looking forward to, Joy, and there are plenty very near to where I picked the elderflowers. X

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  16. I'm glad you're beginning to feel a bit more positive Jules. If your elderflower cordial tastes as good as the smell of the blossoms it will be delicious :)

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    1. It is such a refreshing drink, Eunice. I look forward to it this time each year. X

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  17. How wonderful, I can almost smell it.

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    1. It is a refreshing drink, especially at this time of year. X

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  18. How absolutely lovely, have you tried drinking it with sparkling water. Brilliant photo of Small Person :-)

    Hope your NT garden visit goes well. xx

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    1. I think it tastes best mixed with sparkling water, it's so refreshing. We're visiting the gardens tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to it. X

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  19. Elderflower cordial sounds delicious.
    There are two elder trees in my yard and they are blooming. Seeing your cordial made me want to make some as well. 😊

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    1. You should make some, Nil. It's so simple and it tastes delicious. X

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  20. Fantastic! I have never made elderflower cordial but want to give it a try this year but first I need to find some elder tree's there have to be some near to me but I haven't found any yet, a friend makes elderflower champagne it's supposed to be nice too. Enjoy your trip out.:)xx

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    1. I'm often tempted to make elderflower champagne but I'm always worried about bottles exploding. X

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  21. The delicate white flowers blooming are definitely a sign of the year moving forward. It's hard to imagine the longest day is just around the corner isn't it. Hopefully we still have more good weather ahead of us, it's certainly been a blessing during the past few weeks.

    Good to hear life is returning to some sort of normality for you. Enjoy your day out at NT garden. xx

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    1. These last few months have flown by, Suzanne. I hope you and the family are keeping well and, talking of normal, I hope that you will be able to get to enjoy the van some time soon. X

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  22. Hi Jules I remember you make Elderflower cordial every year, it's lovely to taste natures harvest. It will be lovely to step out into the world again and enjoy more nature. xx

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    1. I'm looking forward to it, Marlene and I hope that you're beginning to feel settled in your new home. X

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  23. It's a frightening thought that it will soon be the longest day … and then the nights start drawing in again!!!

    Lovely photographs, enjoy your cordial.
    Have a happy new week.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you, Jan. I can't believe how fast this year is going. X

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  24. Hi Jules, I am so glad that you managed to harvest some elderflowers and make your cordial during good weather. My dad used to make elderberry wine when we lived in England, though I was too young to taste it. I love elderflower cordial here. I have to buy bottles of it as we don't have any elder trees nearby. I don't know if they even grow in Auckland.

    It will be our shortest day on the 21st of June and it is 16 C and sunny outside today. I hope that your weather picks up again for you so you can enjoy more walks. Hugs Rose.

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    1. I've made elderberry syrup before, but I found it to be quite a sticky process - although that's probably just me :) X

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  25. I can see elderflower in small amounts dotted round my walks, we don't have an abundance, so am trying to resist the temptation to use it now as I want the berries to make a sore throat cordial later in the year - I have never tried using the flowers but your mixture sounds delicious too.

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    1. I love elderflower cordial, although I'm tempted to make some syrup later in the year, as I think there will be an abundance of berries. X

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  26. I can almost smell the elderflowers. A lovely summery post. Time I got picking. B x

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    1. There are so many in the hedgerows just now, that we can often smell them before we see them. X

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  27. I always made a batch of elderflower 'champagne' each year until a bottle exploded and embedded glass in the wall of the pantry. I have been wary of elderflowers ever since 😂.

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    1. I've never attempted to make elderflower champagne for that very reason. Instead, I think I'll stick with occasionally mixing the syrup with some prosecco :)

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  28. Oh, those are beautiful. Your photos are so inspiring. I have never tasted elderflower cordial. It sounds delicious!

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    1. The flowers are lovely and delicate, so pretty. X

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  29. I hope you enjoyed your National Trust visit, it is lovely to have these things to look forward to isn't it. The elderflowers are not quite out yet here but thank you for the reminder to make cordial it is so delicious, I hope you have been enjoying yours.

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    1. I had a really lovely day out, thank you. Although it was something so simple, it felt good to have had something to plan ahead for. X

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  30. I made elderflower syrup and added some of it to cold water and ice cubes. It was a refreshing drink option. Wonder how you make your cordial. Beautiful nature!!

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    1. Thank you, Angela. I like mine served with sparkling water, it's a delicious and refreshing drink. The recipe I use is on the side bar. X

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  31. Your pan of steeping elderflower looks so pretty too! I bet the cordial will be wonderful. I’ve not actually had elderflower cordial before, but I am partial to elderflower wine and cider with elderflower. Oops, can you see the pattern there! I have to point out, I don’t partake very often, haha! I can’t believe summer solstice will be in two days time!

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    1. Thank you, Ann, the cordial is delicious.
      Yes, it's hard to think that after tomorrow the nights will be drawing in. X

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  32. Never seen the actual flowers get used like that before. Would love to try some. Looks wonderful.

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    1. They make a really delicious drink, Janet. X

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  33. I remember you writing about elderflower cordial before - there are plenty around the estate here and at the moment they are in full flower and yes, they smell beautiful too.

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    1. They smell beautiful when in full flower. Their sweet scent is surrounding the hedgerows just now. X

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  34. The little creamy flowers are so pretty, Jules, and I am imagining just how delicious the cordial is. I may just have to seek out a tree...
    MegXx

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    1. I hope you find a tree, Meg. It tastes delicious and is just so simple to make. X

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  35. My mother-in-law used to make elderflower cordial and I so wanted to love it...but I didn't like the taste at all :(

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    1. That's such a shame, Eloise. I find it tastes far more delicious when mixed with sparkling water. X

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  36. what a beautiful part of the world you live in...elderflowers aren't part of my scenery, but I can imagine the heavenly smell you created in your kitchen! Now blackberries....they abound and are in flower now. Can't wait for the first cobbler of the season!

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    1. Thank you, Steph. I feel very fortunate to live here. I am looking forward to the blackberries at the end of the summer too, but before then I hope to gather enough raspberries to make some jam. X

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  37. I made a very early batch of elderflower cordial this year...and was hoping to collect more flowers when the heavens opened...the thunder roared and basically I hunkered down indoors...maybe elderberry cordial will be more plentiful this year instead! x

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    1. Elderberry cordial is very nice too. I hope you and your family are keeping well, Jackie. X

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  38. That cordial sounds wonderful, I can't wait to hear what you will do with the raspberries.

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    1. It makes a delicious drink, Susanne. I usually just make jam with any raspberries I gather, as long as I can get to them before Lily does! X

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