Botanical name : Sambucus nigra Gender: Feminine Planet: Venus Element: Water
Deities: Crone goddesses, Dryads, Earth Goddesses, Faeries, Holda, Venus.
Magical properties: protection, healing, faeries, purification, intuition, exorcism, hex breaking, rebirth.
The beautiful creamy white blossom of the Elder tree blooms between May and June and can be used in recipes for drinks, foods and remedies. I wrote a blog about the Elder tree back in 2017, to read it click on this link ... https://www.kitchenwitchhearth.net/blog/magical-elder-by-sue-perryman
In this blog I want to look at some of the recipes that the flowers are used for. Be sure to pick the flowers when the heat of the sun is on them, and make sure they have plenty of pollen on them. Don't pick them after rain, it's the pollen that gives the flowers their flavour. For the same reason, don't wash the flowers before using, shake then to expel any insects before use.
Elder flower Cordial makes a refreshing Summer drink. There are many different recipes, but this one is quite simple and delicious:
Elder flower Cordial
25 Elder flower Heads 2lb/1kg Unrefined Sugar 2 un waxed lemons 2oz/50g Citric Acid or 2 tbsp white wine vinegar 2 pints/1 litre boiling water
Put the sugar in a large pan with the boiled water and stir to dissolve, leave to cool. Shake the elder flowers to expel any lingering insects, remove the stems and add to the cooled syrup. Wash, grate, squeeze and cut the lemons, add to the elder flower syrup with the citric acid. Cover and leave for 48 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain through a muslin lined sieve and pour into clean bottles with screw tops. Dilute to taste with either water or sparkling water. You can also freeze the cordial into ice cubes and add your favourite cocktails.
I haven't made the recipe below, but I have drank it and it was very good. It makes a perfect drink to celebrate the Summer Solstice, a bit late this year, but it's lovely at any time.
Elder flower Champagne
4 handfuls elder flowers Juice of 2 lemons, plus grated zest 1.5 l sugar 2 tbs white wine vinegar
Bring 2 pints of water to the boil, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and put in a fermentation bin. Top up to a gallon with cold water. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring well. Cover and leave for 2 days. Strain and bottle into sterilised bottles. Leave for at least 2 months to mature.
I make a large jar of the tea below every year and drink it whenever I get a cold or the flu. Elder flowers are diaphoretic, meaning that they induce sweating which helps to lower fevers.
Cold and Flu tea
Equal amounts of: dried elder flowers dried peppermint dried yarrow.
Mix together and keep in a sterilised jar. Add 1 tsp to 1 cup of boiling water to a teapot, infuse for a few minutes, strain and drink. You can sweeten with honey if needed which has the added bonus of soothing sore throats. Drink 3 cups a day at the first sign of a cold or flu.
There are many other recipes for elder flowers available, a quick google search brought up a huge amount, everything from cakes, puddings and even a salad dressing, but these are just a few that I have tried myself to get you started. If you have any tried and tested elder flower recipes that you'd like to share, add them to the comments below.