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Elderflower Sugar and Vinegar

VegetarianVeganDairy FreeGluten Free

If you love the flavour of elderflowers, there are many ways to bring their subtle floral hints to your cooking. Here are just two suggestions that take mere moments: they’re also great ways to use up any flowers left over from making our elderflower champagne or cordial.

These infusions work best with subtly flavoured base ingredients that will absorb the delicate aromas of the flowers but not overwhelm them. We recommend using refined white caster sugar, and a mild wine vinegar (ideally, a speciality one, such as chardonnay). Sieve the sugar onto cakes, into fools and custards or sprinkle over strawberries. Whisk the vinegar into a dressing for soft leaves, or use a little to macerate summer fruits or to spike a G&T.

Makes : 2 × 500ml jars
Prep : 2 minutes, plus 2 weeks steeping
Cook :

FOR THE ELDERFLOWER SUGAR

  • 1 freshly picked elderflower head
  • 400g refined white caster sugar

 

FOR THE ELDERFLOWER VINEGAR

  • 1 freshly picked elderflower head
  • 500m white wine vinegar (if possible, use a delicately flavoured one, such as chardonnay)

 

Method

FOR THE ELDERFLOWER SUGAR

  1. Gently shake the elderflower to get rid of any bugs or other detritus. Put a couple of tablesoons of the sugar in the bottom of a sterilised 500ml jar. Break the flower head into smaller bracts, then layer the sugar with the pieces of elderflower until the jar is full. Put on the lid and store in a cool dry place. Leave for at least a couple of days before using – the elderflower flavour will get stronger over time.
  2. The flowers can be left in the sugar, or you can remove them once they turn brown, by seiving the sugar into bowl and returning it to the jar. If you don’t remove the flowers, remember to seive the sugar into whatever you are making. (The moisture in the flowers will make the sugar clump slightly, so it’s a good idea to sieve it anyway.)

FOR THE ELDERFLOWER VINEGAR

  1. Gently shake the elderflower to get rid of any bugs or other detritus. Pour the vinegar into a sterilised 500ml jar and add the elderflower head. Put the lid on the jar and leave it to steep in a cool dark place for 2 weeks.
  2. Strain the vinegar through a muslin-lined sieve, and return to the jar.

Credits

Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK

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