A taste of summer

Have you walked the hedgerows recently? I adore this time of year when the hedgerows are bursting with life; the elder flowers are in full bloom, the hawthorn flowers have passed but the haws are slowly growing and the crab apples are there too, still tiny but with the promise of an autumn harvest. And not the mention the cacophony of bird song! My favourite time to walk the hedgerows is at dawn just to hear the riot of sound, especially at this time of the year when the chicks are leaving the nests and learning how to fend for themselves in the big bad world, and being very vocal about it.

As I walked around the hedgerows I was struck by just how many elderflowers we have this year, with the trees laden down with the creamy flowerheads, and so decided to try something new – elderflower cordial. I have never tasted elderflower cordial before, never mind tried making it, but we don’t let a little thing like that get in the way.

20130707-224856.jpgUsing a recipe from my trusty River Cottage Preserves handbook I collected a number of elderflower heads, a mix of full flower and partly flowering heads. 20130707-230839.jpgDon’t forget to breathe in deeply and enjoy the glorious scent. The recipe doesn’t say that, but it should! The next stage was to add lemon and orange zest. Oh, and breathe in again. Delicious.

20130707-231212.jpgAnd cover with boiling water and leave to infuse over night.

20130707-231824.jpg All that was left to do the next morning was drain the liquid and warm, adding the sugar until it melted, then store in an appropriate collection of begged, borrowed or otherwise acquired glassware.

20130707-232549.jpgWait for a suitably hot summers day, fill your glass with ice, fruit, cordial and water and enjoy the taste of summer.

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