Crave: A flower-infused syrup to flavor drinks and more
photo by: Courtesy of Mother Earth News
You don’t have to grow elderberries to have access to elderflowers. In the 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!
To use, add 1 to 2 ounces to sparkling water; use in cocktails (elderflower syrup is especially good mixed with champagne); use to flavor sorbet or ice cream; or use in place of sugar to macerate fruit.
5 2⁄3 cups organic sugar
6 1⁄4 cups water
15 to 16 large elderflower heads, or 30 small to medium elderflower heads (shaken to remove bugs and dirt), or 2 cups dried elderflowers
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.)
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.
Remove the flowers from the stems, and then divide the flowers equally between the 2 large canning jars.
Distribute the simple syrup evenly between the two jars.
Cover with a clean cloth and leave to macerate for 2 days in your refrigerator.
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.