The medical uses of Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) is already being mentioned in the writings of Hippocrates (ca. 460-377 BC). The Elderberry is a native plant particulary in Europe, parts of Asia and North Africa. You can make delicious elderflower syrup of it. This is my way. Ingredients for 5 liters of syrup:
- 1/3 bucket of elderberry blossoms, twigs stripped of
- 3 lemons
- 3 pounds of sugar (granulated sugar, cane sugar or mixed)
- 100 grams of citric acid
Collect the beautiful, fresh blossoms in the morning on a sunny day. Seperate the blossom stems before you put them in the bucket; the stalks give a somewhat bitter taste to the syrup. 1/3 of a bucket with these blossoms give you about 5 liters of syrup in the end.
Put the flowers in the bucket just below cold or lukewarm water . Add 3 sliced in half, preferably organic, lemons. Let it stand for at least 24 hours to 32 hours with a lid on the bucket. Put some weight on top, for instance a stack of books, so that the bucket is sealed and under pressure. If you want to have a stronger infusion of blossoms, then certainly add the sugar so your mixture doesn’t get spoiled.
Remove the lemons. Then strain everything through a colander or coarse sieve, then again through muslin or a clean tea towel and finally through a coffee filter (for the most clear syrup). You now have 3 liters of elderflower water. Add 1 kilogram of sugar per liter. White granulated sugar gives the clearest result, cane syrup turns the syrup brownish.
Now heat the liquid and stir everything in the pan so that the sugar dissolves. Add the juice of the lemons you’ve used earlier. Don’t let it come to a boil. Your total amount of syrup is around 5 liters now. Turn off the heat and stir in 20 grams of citric acid per liter of the syrup (in this case 100 grams). It gives a bit of a sour taste and improves the sustainability of syrup.
Clear sufficient clean bottles, preferably with a screw cap. First soak any labels off and rinse well. Then put the bottles including the bottle caps in a pan with cold water and bring to a boil. Let it boil for 10 minutes, then remove the bottles from the pan, pour out the water and fill the bottles with a funnel with the hot syrup. You may also want to cool off a portion of the syrup and freeze it like ice. The syrup has approximately a 2 year shelf life.
The syrup is very sweet with some acidity and is obviously intended to dilute, like every syrup. Nice to mix a small amount with sparkling water to create your own refreshing (summer) drink! A winner in combination with white wine. An ice cube in a glass of prosecco is also very enjoyable… Cheers!