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Friday 22 June 2012

Sluttishly Sweet: Elderflower and Lavender syrup

Making lovely things from free stuff is brilliant and it doesn't get much better than your own elderflower syrup. I like to add lavender to my syrup for that extra floral boost but you could add rose water or orange blossom water for an equally beautiful concoction.
Pick your flowers early in the day and, this may seem obvious, only pick from bushes that smell nice. Some species smell a bit like wee and that is not the flavour of Summer that you are trying to capture! Make sure you pick from many bushes rather than just stripping one bare as your local wildlife feeds from the berries that form from the flowers.

You'll need: makes 10 litres
  • carrier bag full of elderflower heads - mine weighed in at 1.2kg
  • 5kg granulated sugar
  • 6 litres water
  • 3 unwaxed lemons
  • 2 heaped tablespoons full of lavender flowers (for a subtle taste but use a bit more if you like it more pronounced)
  • 2 tsp citric acid (optional)
Make it!
  1. Give each head of elderflower a good shake to get rid of creepy crawlies and snap off as much green stalk as you can.
  2. Heat your water and sugar and stir until all the sugar is dissolved.  Once hot but not boiling add you flowers and submerge. Slice your lemons and add them too.
  3. Leave for up to 3 days.
  4. Line a colander with some muslin or clean cloth (I use a clean pillowcase if I have run out of muslin) and strain your syrup.  If using citric acid stir it in now then bottle up your lovely floral syrup.  
Tips: Because it is very concentrated it will keep quite happily in your fridge for a couple of weeks.  I tend to buy a pack of 500ml plastic water bottles and decant the syrup into these. I fill 80% of the bottle (to leave room for the syrup to expand when it freezes) and pop them in the freezer.  This way I have amazing elderflower syrup, cocktails, sorbets and ice cream all year round. If 10 litres is far too much then halve the water and use 4kg sugar but keep the same amount of elderflowers for a lovely concentrated flavour. Or you can give some to friends. They'll like you until at least Christmas.


  1. I love making stuff for free! We had a bumper crop of sloe berries last year which we put to use in gin (obvs) and some delicious greengages which I made jam with.

    Really like this idea though and can't wait to try it!

    1. I'm not the biggest elderflower fan (I need something sour alongside it), but I do love a forage!


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