You don’t have to grow elderberries to have access to elderflowers. In spring, take a drive in the countryside and be on the lookout for the big, lacy white blooms along the road. If fresh flower season has passed, don’t despair — dried elderflowers work too!
• 5-2/3 cups organic sugar
• 6-1/4 cups water
• 4 lemons
• 15 to 16 large elderflower heads, or 30 small to medium elderflower heads (shaken to remove bugs and dirt), or 2 cups dried elderflowers.
1. To make a simple syrup, combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring continuously. When the sugar has dissolved completely, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. (Putting the delicate flowers in hot syrup will ruin the flavor.)
2. When the syrup is cool, finely zest all 4 lemons and add the zest to the syrup. Cut the remaining zestless lemon into slices, and divide the slices equally between 2 large canning jars.
3. Remove the flowers from the stems, and then divide the flowers equally between the 2 large canning jars.
4. Distribute the simple syrup evenly between the two jars.
5. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to macerate for 2 days in your refrigerator.
6. Remove the infused syrup from your refrigerator and pour it through a fine sieve to remove the flowers and lemon slices. Using a funnel, fill sterilized bottles with the syrup. Seal and store in the refrigerator. Consider canning your elderflower syrup for long-term storage.
Learn more about growing elderberries and other superberries in “Grow Superberries in Your Backyard.”
Michael Brown uses his New Jersey backyard to explore how small-scale growers such as himself can succeed in suburban agriculture. Find him online at Pitspone Farm.