Saturday, June 11, 2011

Elder still

It's that time of year again.




Added some rose petals to the brew this year, as an experiment.  Smelling good already.


( Elderflower cordial recipe included in this post ).

10 comments:

zephyr said...

be still my heart. it is my favorite beverage, and our elderflower shouldn't even be classed in the same genus...when it comes to fragrance and flavor.

Plutarch said...

Lovely elder. I used to photograph the elder tree at the end of the vegetable garden but the people who own the garden cut it down. I try in my heart to forgive them but I cannot. I miss the scent,the umbels, the opportunity to make cordial, the berries in Autumn and its very comforting presence.

Lucy said...

Thanks both. The brew is turning a very interesting shade of pink already with the addition of the rose petals, though whether it will keep that colour I don't know, flower colours are quite fugitive like that. They do seem to add something to the fragrance too. I wonder about making a similar thing with just rose petals and oranges later.

Z - I remember, I think, having a conversation with you about this before. I am surprised you can't find or grow the right kind of elder, in the comments to the other post one chap in Australia said he had an elder tree. The drink is unknown here in France, though one can buy syrups flavoured with rose and violet and orange flower.

Joe - a sad tale. They are rather ambiguously regarded trees, either cherished or seen as weeds, perhaps it's something to do with the sweet smell of the flowers against the pungency of the leaves, and the uselessness of the wood. Folklore seems to attach as many sinister legends to it as benign ones, like Andersen's Elder Tree Mother.

Our tree we planted on purpose and keep trimmed as a standard (though there are plenty of wild ones about too). It's supposed to be a golden leaved variety, and was to begin with but seems to have reverted to ordinary green. Lately I've noticed some interesting cultivated purple leaved ones with pink flowers about.

zephyr said...

Yes, Sambucus nigra is rare, but not unheard of. One with almost-black foliage is a darling of the trade. However, i've never seen one grow very large/have enough umbels to harvest for cordial.And no one seems to grow more than one in a garden.

But!...we lost a large hydrangea this year. The spot may be large enough to plant 3 elders! ...if i can find the plants.

Hope springs eternal!
in the meantime, i continue to order the cordial from someone who imports it.

Bee said...

It's the season! I just wrote about elderflower, too; but reading through your recipe I realise that I've neglected to mention removing the stems . . . nor was I scrupulous about removing them myself. Oh well; it still tasted delicious. In fact, we are going through it terribly quickly. I hope we can make another batch before the flowers disappear.

Your pictures are beautiful, as always. I'm curious to know how this rose-infused batch turns out.

marly youmans said...

My mother has one with big flowerheads close to her house on top of a mountain in North Carolina, and there are others in the woods.

The last time I had an elderflower drink was at Powis Castle with Dave Bonta and Clare Dudman! Lovely memory...

earlybird said...

Beautiful. I wonder what the roses will add to the cordial... I like the elusive scent of elderflower. Mightn't the roses be a bit overpowering?

I have bought 'syrop de sureau' here - from an 'artisan' who comes to the annual honey market in my village. Not as good as my homemade one. Although I haven't made it for years. Too late now...next year...

Lucy said...

Earlybird, hello! I am wrong then, but it is not something I have seen hereabouts; Provencal folk are clearly more clued up than Bretons in such matters. I enjoyed introducing my students to it in the UK, along with ginger beer!

Lucy said...

Oh, and I meant to say, I took a spoonful out prematurely yesterday, it is a lovely pink, and diluted looks like pink champagne. The rose flavour is discernible but doesn't overwhelm the elderflower at all, which while delicate is deceptively pervasive at the same time.

Isabelle said...

I never think of the flowers as sweet-smelling. I must have a sniff - not yet, though. We're too far north for them to be out yet. I maybe have a prejudice against elders from my Girl Guide days, when we all knew that you couldn't use a sappy elder branch in a campfire.