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Tinuviel [userpic]
Elder Flowers..
by Tinuviel (_hedgewytch_)
at June 10th, 2007 (07:41 pm)

Since there are so many around I though I would share some things with you...

you can use them as an aphrodisiac, for love spells and prosperity.

A recipe from Mara Freeman

Elder Flower lotion

an old folk remedy that cools, cleanses and softens the skin

1. Heat a handful of elder blossoms (stripped from the stalks) in 1 1/2 cups of Buttermilk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buttermilk) until warm. Do not boil
2. Keep on a low heat for about 30 mins, covered until the flowers soften
3. Remove from the heat, and allow to steep for three hours.
4. Reheat and add 1 oz of honey, stirring well
5. Cool and pour into a bottle or screw top jar.


from the BBC website..

Elderflower cordial     
        by Lotte Duncan

Makes 3 litres

Preparation time overnight

Cooking time no cooking required

30 elderflower heads
6 pints (approx. 3 litres) of boiling water
2lb (900g) caster sugar
1 packet of citric acid (available from chemists)
2 unwaxed oranges
3 unwaxed lemons

1. Gently rinse over the elderflowers to remove any dirt or little creatures.
2. Pour the boiling water over the sugar in a very large mixing bowl. Stir well and leave to cool.
3. Add the citric acid, the oranges and lemons sliced, and then the flowers.
4. Leave in a cool place for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
5. Strain through some muslin and bottle.

hmmm my mother's now temporarily lost recipe was left for much longer to infuse.


Here's some blurb and then another recipe from the daily mail...

Why elderflower cordial is the drink of the season
Last updated at 23:19pm on 7th June 2007

Elderflower cordial: the essence of summer

For days now, the distinctive lacy blooms of the elderflower have been festooning roadsides, gardens, country lanes and patches of urban scrubland.

Everyone will have seen them, even if they can't identify this effervescent hedgerow plant with its dinner plate-sized, flat floral heads of miniature white flowers that loll and lop and create a foaming mass among its emerald foliage.

It's said that summer starts when the elder's flowers appear, and ends when its berries are ripe in late August.

Approach the bush and you will be struck by the heady scent - a floral grapey fragrance mixed with a less attractive, musky odour that hints of cat's urine.

New research shows that more and more people are discovering the unspoken qualities of this common or garden shrub and its boastful flowers.

Or at least they have discovered it makes a cordial so refreshingly thirst-quenching, so redolent of English summer days, that sales of the drink are soaring and the elderflower is suddenly big business.

Of course, elderflower cordial has been a staple of rural tea parties, country house pantries and village fetes for generations, as family recipes have been handed down every summer.

But during the past decade, commercial sales of the perennial summer favourite have increased threefold, according to the market research firm Nielsen.

Belvoir Fruit Farms, the country's oldest manufacturer of the flowery tonic, reports a 24 per cent increase in sales in the past year alone.

Some 750,000 bottles of cordial were sold by the Lincolnshire-based firm last year, along with a further 1.9million bottles of elderflower presse (the fizzy version made with sparkling water).

"We expect to see a further 20 per cent increase this year," says the company.

What is behind this sudden surge in a drink that was even mentioned by 17th-century writer John Milton in his great work Comus?

Perhaps it is simply the fact that the growth in our demand for organic and natural foodstuffs has swept up elderflower cordial in its wake.

For only by picking the freshest blooms of the flower during its extremely limited six-week flowering period can its makers ensure the drink has its summery and very English taste.

The elder's properties are not limited to making cordials, however. Since the days of druids, the plant has been appreciated for its medicinal worth.

It is rich in Vitamin C and its healing properties have for centuries been used as a herbal remedy for coughs, colds, hay fever and even rheumatism, so much so that it has acquired the nickname of Nature's Medicine Chest.

According to popular myth, 17th-century Dutch botanist and physician Herman Boerhaave never passed an elderflower without raising his hat, so revered were the shrub's curative properties.

In Britain in the Thirties, the renowned botanist and herbalist Maude Grieve, in her book A Modern Herbal, swore by an elderflower infusion as a "good old-fashioned remedy for colds and throat trouble".

But she didn't stop at the flowers. "Elderberry wine (made of the berries) has a curative power in the early stages of severe catarrh, accompanied by shivering, sore throat etc.

"Like Elderflower tea, it is one of the best preventatives known against the advance of influenza and the ill-effects of a chill...It has a reputation as an excellent remedy for asthma."

Mrs Beeton, the domestic goddess of the Victorian age, advised, too, of the beneficial - and potent - properties of elderflower wine, which should be made in September with "half a pint of brandy" added to every gallon.

Those elders that were not ripped out as weeds by gardeners were used as insecticides: people would crush up and bruise the foul-smelling leaves and leave them on the ground around the tender stems of young plants to deter aphids and caterpillars.

For good measure, they'd stick a sprig of elder in their hatband to ward off midges.

This was a practice commonly applied by farmers who, in the days before insecticides, used to hang bunches of the plant above horses to ward off flies.

Elder was traditionally planted around dairies because it was thought to keep the milk from turning.

Breathtakingly fragrant, yet foul-smelling; a wonderful curative, yet poisonous to some creatures - the schizophrenic nature of the elder's properties gave rise to darker myths about the plant in some areas of the country.

The most auspicious time to encounter fairies in medieval times was held to be on Midsummer's Eve under an elderflower bush, where it was believed that the Fairy King and Queen, together with their retinue, could be seen passing.

Elder was commonly used to make wands, and flutes made of wood from an elder tree were used to summon spirits. Elder blossom was worn at the Gaelic Pagan festival of Beltane, to signify witchcraft and magic.

Elder twigs were also woven into head-dresses to enable the wearer to see spirits and undo evil spells.

To this day, on the Isle of Man, every cottage has an elder growing outside its front door to ward off witches.

Some believed, however, that witches liked to turn themselves into elder trees, perhaps because of the nobbly and gnarled bark. In Shropshire, it was said that someone in the family would die if you burnt elder wood on the fire.

And in Scotland, it was said the elder grew only where blood had been spilled - which, given that country's history, explains why it grows almost everywhere.

But today, it is as the primary component of a refreshing summer drink that the elderflower is best known. For mercifully, during the making of the cordial the pungent aromas disappear and you are left with a refreshing grapiness.

Experts say the best time to pick the flower is on a dry, warm day when the blooms are newly open and white.

Creamy-brown blooms are already past their best and to be avoided, as are flowers growing by the roadside which may be exposed to vehicle pollution.

When they are picked, the flowers are left to infuse with lemons in a syrup of sugary water, tartaric or citric acid. Some 20 heads of elderflower make two litres of cordial.

For years, its manufacture has been a summer routine in households all over the country.

London nurse Vanessa Kyle, 36, says: "It's something I helped make as a child, and when I had a family of my own, my mother passed me down her recipe.

"I sell it at the school fair - although chemists are reluctant citric acid because apparently it's vital in making crack cocaine."

It was not until 1984 that the first commercial elderflower cordial was made in Britain at Belvoir Fruit Farms. Belvoir Castle, in Lincolnshire, family seat of the Duke of Rutland.

The late duke's brother, Lord John Manners, was inspired into producing his wife's homemade elderflower cordial because it was so popular among friends.

According to his son, Peverel, Lord John produced 84 cases of 70cl bottles to be sold commercially in 1984. The following year, the farm made 300 and, by 1988, was producing 1,000 cases.

Before long, elderflower was being grown commercially and the cordial sold in Sainsbury's. And sales took off.


SERVINGS: Makes 1.5 litres.

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes, plus overnight infusing. Cooking: 5 minutes.

INGREDIENTS: 20 heads of elderflower, 1.8kg granulated or caster sugar, 1.2 litres water, 2 unwaxed lemons, 75g citric acid.


1. Shake elderflowers to expel any insects, and then place in large bowl.

2. Put sugar into a pan with the water and bring to boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved.

3. While the sugar syrup is heating, pare zest of lemons off in wide strips and toss into bowl with elderflowers. Slice lemons, discard the ends, and add slices to bowl.

Pour over boiling syrup, and stir in the citric acid. Cover with a cloth and leave at room temp for 24 hours.

4. Next day, strain cordial through a sieve lined with muslin (or a new J-Cloth rinsed out in boiling water), and pour into thoroughly cleaned glass or plastic bottles.

Screw on lids and it's ready to use.

TO SERVE: Dilute cordial to taste with fizzy water, and serve over ice.



and Wikipedia gives us...

Sambucus nigra

Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Plantae
Division:     Magnoliophyta
Class:     Magnoliopsida
Order:     Dipsacales
Family:     Adoxaceae
Genus:     Sambucus
Species:     S. nigra
Binomial name
Sambucus nigra

Sambucus nigra [1] is a species of elder native to most of Europe, northwest Africa and southwest Asia. It is most commonly called just Elder or Elderberry, but also Black Elder, European Elder, European Elderberry, European Black Elderberry [2][3], Common Elder, or Elder Bush when distinction from other species of Sambucus is needed. It grows in a variety of conditions including both wet and dry soils, primarily in sunny locations.

It is a deciduous shrub growing to 4-6 m (rarely to 10 m) tall. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, 10-30 cm long, pinnate with five to seven (rarely nine) leaflets, the leaflets 5-12 cm long and 3-5 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The flowers are borne in large corymbs 10-25 cm diameter in mid summer, the individual flowers white, 5-6 mm diameter, with five petals. The fruit is a dark purple to black berry 3-5 mm diameter, produced in drooping clusters in the late autumn; they are an important food for many fruit-eating birds, notably Blackcaps.

There are several other closely related species, native to Asia and North America, which are very similar, and treated as subspecies of S. nigra by some botanists (see the genus page for details).


This plant is used as a medicinal plant and also used as a ornamental plant. It is cited as a poisonous plant to mammals as well as cited as a weed. [4]

    * The flowerheads are commonly used in infusions, giving a very common refreshing drink in Northern Europe. Commercially these are sold as elderflower cordial etc.

    * The berries are edible after cooking, but all other parts of the plant are poisonous, containing toxic calcium oxalate crystals.

    * The strong-smelling foliage was used in the past, tied to a horse's mane, to keep flies away while riding.

    * Stembark, leaves, flowers, fruits, root extracts are used to treat bronchitis, cough, upper respiratory cold infections, fever.

    * In Beerse, Belgium they make Jenever of the berries called Beers Vlierke.


   1. ^ Sambucus nigra at Flora Europaea
   2. ^ TSN 35324. Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
   3. ^ Sambucus nigra at USDA PLANTS Database
   4. ^ Sambucus nigra at Germplasm Resources Information Network


    * Blanchan, Neltje (2002). Wild Flowers: An Aid to Knowledge of our Wild Flowers and their Insect Visitors. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.
    * Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. HarperCollins ISBN 0-00-220013-9

Follow the link I scandalously stole the above from for links and pictures..


Posted by: naurwen (naurwen)
Posted at: June 11th, 2007 12:55 pm (UTC)
Music SaMo Logo

i LOVE elderflower syrup! i love elderflowers in general

Posted by: Tinuviel (_hedgewytch_)
Posted at: June 11th, 2007 01:11 pm (UTC)

yeah they are pretty awesome ;o)
try making the fritters ;o)
Just dip the flower heads in batter and fry xxx

Posted by: naurwen (naurwen)
Posted at: June 11th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
Music SaMo Logo

oooh? sounds good. :)
problem's i think the time for elderflower's almost over here now. will have to see.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Tinuviel (_hedgewytch_)
Posted at: November 3rd, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)

Awesome!!! xxx

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