Elderflower is a shrub or small tree that is native to Ireland and grows commonly throughout the countryside. From the flowers, which only blossom in June and July, you can make the most delicious cordial. It is really so refreshing, so easy and so economical to make!
My one daughter has asked me on numerous occasions if we could try and make it, so eventually we did yesterday and I might just do it every year now.
The large white/cream flower on the elder smells sweet and is lovely. It grows at a fast rate and grows wild within hedgerows, scrub and wasteland and also woodland egdes. I just went for my daily walk in the countryside where we live to get the flowers!
Interesting when I looked for a recipe for the cordial I came upon many myths surrounding the elder tree. Here are a few:
– Many people believe that elder is the tree from which Judas Iscariot hanged himself after betraying Jesus;
– To fell an elder tree without suitable protection could free a spirit called the Elder Mother to take her revenge;
– The elderflower was said to be a protection against witches and a knotted twig kept in the pocket was a charm against rheumatism.
Apparently the elder flower is also very high in medicinal benefits and it is used in many creams and lotions. The elder cordial and wines (which you can make from the berries) are high in vitamins A, B and C. Also an infusion of elderflower helps to clear colds and throat trouble and it is even helpful in preventing hay fever!
Well I don’t know about all that, but I do know it is a fabulous refreshing drink especially when you add lots of ice and water (or sparkling water) to it, on a warm day!