Everywhere, in every hedgerow the elder is coming into bloom, bury your nose into the flowers and take in the sweet and heady scent! The internet abounds with receipes for elderflower cordial and elderflower champagne (and do have a go at those) but why not give this a try as well…
Gooseberry and Elderflower Preserve (taken fromthe ever resourceful Richard Mabey’s ‘Food for Free’)
Have 4 flower heads with as little stalk as possible to each 1lb of gooseberries. Put the fruit in a preserving pan with 1 pint of water for every 1lb fruit and simmer for half an hour, mashing the fruit to a pulp as you go along. Add 1 lb sugar to every 1lb fruit, stir until dissolved and then bring to the boil. Tie the elderflowers in muslin and add the whole lot, boil until setting point is reached (for more info on the specifics of jam check out http://www.make-jam.co.uk). Remove the bag of flowers and pour into jars as usual. ‘The flavour is quite transformed…and is reminiscent of muscat grapes’.
Can’t be bad!