If given the opportunity I would probably wander the fields gathering blossoms and greens every single day of the year – only to take my discoveries home to study and create in the kitchen. These delicate elderflower blossoms were foraged for me. I found them at the organic market close to where I live. Once I got my stash of pale golden flowers home I wrapped them in newspaper and put them in a jug of water for the afternoon – just so I could experience their delicate perfume before throwing them in a pot of water.
It didn’t take long before I simply had to get cooking. I always try to work simply, adding more ingredients or complexer techniques only if necessary. I guess that sums up my idea about cooking — the closer I can stay to nature’s flavors the better. The effort required to make elderflower infused water is minimal and the result is more than worth the time.
The availability of elderflower blossoms is very short-lived so go out and grab some while the buds are in their fully glory and make your own homemade delicacy.
- a large bowl full of elderflower clusters . about 20
- the juice of one pink grapefruit
- 1.5 liters of water
- 150-200 grams of raw organic honey
Wash the elderflower blossoms carefully in a bowl of water to rid them of any kind of unwanted dust. Measure the water into a pan large enough to accommodate the blossoms. Squeeze the pink grapefruit juice directly into the water and stir in the honey. Bring the water to boiling point and stir until the honey has dissolved. Turn off the heat. Allow the water to cool to room temperature before adding in the elderflower blossoms. Put the water-honey-blossom mixture in the refrigerator overnight. An entire day or even thrty-six hours does wonders to the flavor too.
After soaking the blossoms as mentioned above, layer a colander with a clean linen tea towel and balance it above a large bowl. Pour the water through the cloth. Squeeze the elderflower blossoms dry above the linen cloth in order to get the most of their aroma. Let the juices of the elderflower blossoms slowly drip through the cloth.
The elderflower-infused water is now ready to drink, even though at this point its flavor will be decidedly mild. I filled a few small glasses with my first experiment at floral infused water and added some ice cubes as part of an easy Sunday refreshment. If you like, you can do the same.
In order to make a light elderflower cordial (just another name for infused water refreshment) pour the contents of the bowl into a pan and bring the liquid to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer the infused water until half its original volume. Turn off the heat and allow the elderflower water to cool. Taste it for the right balance of floral, sweetness and citrus flavors. Add some honey and pink grapefruit if so desired. Chill the cordial and serve as part of any early summer moment.
I like to add fresh lavender or rose petals to the elderflower when serving it as a refreshing drink. Drop some fresh raspberries into each glass before serving. Another favorite is a slice of pink grapefruit because it is prettier and milder than lemon.
Simmer the original infused liquid slowly into a syrup by stirring 50 grams of raw honey at the start of the cooking process. Pour the syrup over fresh fruit or use it as a base to panna cotta.
The name “cordial” not only refers to being generally polite . it also is the name given to a fruit-infused water in the UK and in Australia. I quite like the name because it is obviously shorter and more attractive sounding than “infused water”.