We’re not ones to avoid a crude joke, so the telescopic tree pruner has been referred to as “the massive tool” from the moment it arrived.
It is very long, extending up to four metres long (that’s about 13 feet for my imperial pals) and it’s an awful lot easier to use than a ladder and our little old loppers…
And following another epic prune, we have a lot of elderflower.
So I decided to make cordial. We drink quite a bit of elderflower cordial, usually with sparkling water – or wine – and it’s a delicious flavour for the summer. But elderflower cordial from the shops isn’t cheap – usually about £2 for a little bottle that makes ten glasses.
It’s not difficult to make your own, and if you’re lucky enough to have access to an elderflower, I suggest you do so.
Here’s how I did it…
Pick elderflowers on a sunny morning for the best flavour.
Clean your elderflowers outside if you can, rather than bringing the bugs and leaves into the kitchen.
You want to include the flowers, but not the stems or leaves, which I think can give the cordial a ‘grassy’ taste.
The best way I found to separate the flowers from the stems was to grab the flowerheads by my left hand, and snip the stems using scissors.
Once the flowers are off the stems, give the blooms a good rinse and check them over, removing bugs, twigs, brown bits and anything that looks a bit icky.
Once you’ve got your big pan about half full of clean elderflower, its ready for the next stage, and into the kitchen.
To make the cordial, I used about 40 flowerheads, 700 grams of sugar, two lemons and 2.5 litres of boiling water.
Use only the zest and juice of the lemons, and bring the mixture to a boil for about five minutes, before covering with a lid and leaving to sit for a a day or two.
This is the second batch of elderflower cordial I’ve made recently.
Today I bottled up last weeks batch. I’m not planning to keep these for a long time, so I wasn’t too concerned with using citric acid as a preservative, or sterilising the bottles. But if you want your cordial to keep for longer, use a teaspoon of citric acid and boil washed your bottles to help to preserve it.
Personally, we’ve drunk every batch we made within a few weeks, without it going off. We keep it in the fridge, and use it for cocktails and mocktails.
And as ever, I hope that your plans and plants are coming along nicely.