Monday, September 11, 2006


Go on, just do it!

I''m just catching up with the fact that elderberries now ripen late August/September, rather than September/October, as I'm sure they used to. In the good old days. Once again this year, I nearly missed them. Just in time, phew, to make this wonderful syrup.

(if there are still some berries around in our micro-climate of London, there will probably be plenty where you are).

This is delicious diluted with water, with/without lemon added - also good with sparkling water. LG loves it. Also v. good with hot water as an alternative to mulled wine. Will substitute quite nicely for cassis, to make kir.

And additionally - a traditional medieval remedy for chest problems, this is excellent for coughs, colds and sore throats with hot water, with/without added honey, lemon, booze. Its very very high in vitamin C.

What more could you ask? Its dead easy to make, and you can make any amount - just do at least a little, before its too late and I'm sure you'll want to make more.

Elderberry syrup

from Roger Phillips Wild Food book, Pan 1983.

Pick ripe elderberries (recipe says on a dry day - I've picked them in the rain, and not suffered obviously bad consequences).

Any quantity. (see - you can just try a very very little bit, and see if you like it)
Wash and drain.

Strip fruit from stems (a fork is useful for this - and I don't usually worry about all the tiny little bits of stems. Otherwise it would take all day.) (well... hours anyway)

Put into a pan and add just enough water to cover the fruit. Simmer for about half an hour. (or boil rather too rapidly, if like me you are a bit neglectful).

Strain through a jelly bag or muslin. (or a tea-towel, so long as you don't mind the new colour it will gain) (or even a seive, which I've used this year.)

Measure the juice, and for each pint of juice add 1 lb/450g of sugar and 10 cloves.
Heat gently, stirring till all the sugar is dissolved. Boil/simmer for 10 mins, leave to cool - and then bottle.

As easy as that.

This will freeze in plastic bottles, but I usually use bottles with good stoppers (french cider bottles, Grolsch bottles, port bottles) or screw-tops (some olive oil bottles are quite nice) and it keeps perfectly well in a cool dark cupboard - we are just finishing the last bottle from last year.

I had a pic. of my satisfying shining dark bottles, but Blogger says NO. This year I had about 2 pints of juice, and after adding sugar etc. this ended up giving me about 3 litres of syrup.

Off today to see if there are still some berries left, more would be even better.


Geena said...

It sounds good - but haven't a clue what elderberries are.

You've been busy for sure. I always feel exhausted reading your blog.

Pea said...

My friend makes lovely elderflower cordial but I've never even seen an elderberry let alone tasted one - sounds good though

grumpy old woman said...

Thanx for the recipe, Lettuce.

Luckily for me I DO know what an elderberry is, it's the fruit of the elderflower. I used to make Elderflower Champagne - or Summer Bubbly - years ago - mmm - out of this world :o}

I'm going to try this one - it sounds so simple to do.


lettuce said...

Tried to post a picture of some elderberries but bloody blogger WOULDN'T. Click here (if this works) if you don't know what elderberries look like!

Bird said...

blogger and pictures - argh. i had to clean out my cache of cookies and then log on to blogger via mozilla firefox in order to post pictures a while back - and even now - i have to go thorugh mozilla to post pics, but log off and go back on via internet explorer to view the posts properly. don't know if it's blogger or me or what.

but, on to more important things - wil you make elderberry wine?

ramblingwoman said...

Elderberries eh? I can never thinkof elderberries without thinking of M sipping the cordial with a red throbbing NOSE.

I don't think I'll be make cordial this season Letty (again!)

I keep getting a problem with your blog! When I go on your niddy noddy it tells me there is a problem and has to close down!
And then it does!

lettuce said...

Oh dear Bird, I hope I wont have to go through all that! wouldn't want to blog without pictures!
No, no plans for elderberry wine this year, keeping life too simple. I've made it in the past tho', it is wonderfully wicked.

and ptb Lucy. I had trouble getting your blog last week - hope/assume its bloody blogger, not me or you.

btw the red nose isn't essential to drinking this delicious and fragrant syrup!!!

BUT - if anyone else has trouble getting onto my Niddy Noddy blog (see my sidebar) - please let me know. thanks!

euro-trac said...

Mmmmmm... sounds good, tho' never, ever tasted it. Although cloves worry me slighty! :O)

(No probs with your Niddy Noddy blog at all!)

Geena said...

Thanks for the I know what elderberries LOOK like - have to taste them next!

Gina said...

Hello! Thank you for popping over. I hadn't realised this would be so sociable. Everyone is really friendly and welcoming.
I read your post and felt a bit foolish for not knowing what elderberries look like but I see I was not the only one. I shall have to look for some.
I wish I looked as elegant as my namesake above!

PG said...

They are oozing off the hedgerows here, I am definitely going to try this! When the rain you think it would work with blackberries?