Here’s a lovely, simple and seasonal new thing that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time, picking some elderflower and making a cordial. For all my chat last year about wanting to forage and make something delicious with, like a wild garlic pesto for example, it never happened. I was always a bit scared about picking the wrong thing and poisoning my husband. Thankfully, armed with my trusty plant identifying app PlantNet, I was able to identify the white fragrant flower that pops up everywhere in the warmer months.
I felt a bit bad about picking the elderflower like I was doing something I shouldn’t be, but I made sure the plant was away from a road, and not on private land, which made me feel a bit more comfortable. I picked a few bunches so that I could make a decent batch, and followed this very simple recipe from the Woodland Trust to make a few small bottles of this subtle and sweet drink.
Elderflower cordial is really versatile and adds a little lift to some simple drinks. One of my favourite ways to use it is simply with some sparkling water on a hot day. Sometimes, if I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll add some cucumber too! It also pairs great with alcohol, my mum likes it often with a gin and tonic, but my main reason for making it was for a classic summer drink here in Germany, a Hugo.
Wikipedia tells me that the Hugo actually originates in northern Italy, but spread since its conception in 2005 to the surrounding German-speaking countries. It’s a sweet apéritif consisting of prosecco, elderflower cordial, and mint, and is the taste of summer for me. I followed this recipe and can only recommend it.
I’m really pleased with my first adventures into elderflower foraging, and happy with my fridge full of elderflower cordial to see me through the first heatwave of summer. Next time, I’d love to try these sweet elderflower fritters from BBC Good Food. I better get collecting!