Saturday, June 30, 2012

Well here we are with a basket of elderflower. The basket is about 18 inches long.

As you remove them from the green stems, they start looking like tiny fake flowers as they fall.


Here's after I've done a few more.

And here's where we find the kidnapees. I shook off the umbels in the field, and again before I brought them in the house. Yes, individually! And two crab spiders and this pale green orb were still in the flowers.

I am getting closer, but at this point, I had at least a pint of loose flowers, so ...

I wantonly stuffed them into a pint jar. I poured in vodka up to about the 3/4 mark. There. No ... there. I just estimated, really. Then topped off with water. I shook it, but not too much moved. Then I put it into my herb cabinet, in the dark. You want to put your herbs in a cool, dry place, definitely out of the light. If you don't have AC in the house, you settle for dark, as I do.

After finishing off the last few umbels, which took a total of 45 minutes, I think. My feet are saying "75 minutes," but they could be kidding. I then popped them into a big saucepan and tried to cover them with water. Ahem. They are buoyant, LOL. So I tried to press them under. They are buoyant.

I applied heat and then looked at my recipe that said to add two thinly sliced lemons. So I did that.

And I simmered this a half hour. Then I let it steep with a lid on the pot for another half hour. I was looking for a color change, where the liquid got darker, but I was getting bored. I accidentally left the heat on for another half-hour on low, and then I sieved it.

There was a fair amount of material in there for my compost pile!

Then it looked like this, and I added sugar to make a syrup. Pretty ugly, so I whipped out my cheesecloth to sieve it again.

When it's already hot and now it's a syrup, and now it's cooling, guess what? It doesn't really want to go through that cheesecloth. Neither gravity nor staring nor shaking really have an effect on it. I don't recall if I swore at it, but I wasn't upset, so you'll have to try swearing on your project. Not that I don't swear, mind you, but I didn't that day.

The syrup left a sludge behind, which I suppose is a combination of plant material and sugar left behind.

And I got nearly two quarts of elderflower syrup. It was still fairly warm, and I let it cool.

I put some syrup over a couple cubes in a jelly jar. Note: Use a larger jar. All the recipes I read about using this syrup suggest sparkling water and other ingredients I don't have. Did I mention I live 35 miles from a real grocery store? So I added cold water over the top and gave it a stir. Note: Stir it more.

Anyway I gave it an immediate 8. And then went up to 8.5 when I stirred it better and some of the ice melted so I could actually move the fluids in there better. Purdy cool.

Also, it did not taste of lemons at all. It has a delicate flavor ... I guess of elderflower ... although I don't think it tastes like they smell. Maybe it tastes like it tastes to a bug!? Anyway it's nice. Be careful about using too much syrup. Gack. Then it's just "swayt." Don't overpower the flavor. If you are unimpressed, add more water.

Later on I also tried it with vodka. That's okay. I may also try it with a Pino Grigio. But for now I'm enjoying the uniqueness of it.