I picked the flowers early at the end of May when the first ones were open and still the trees are full of flowers.
|The tree in my orchard must be 12 foot high now|
Mmmmmm there's nothing lovelier than the smell of an elder flower, yet in the blink of an eye that smell can change to something that resembles cat's pee. Anyone who has ever picked elder flowers or just had a sniff of the flowers on a late spring walk will know what I am talking about!
|An open head of Elder flowers with one in bud behind it.|
My trug full and ready to do the business. I follow Sophie Grigson's recipe here.
|Picked elder flowers|
I only added 50g of citric acid because that's the size of the packet I bought - but as I freeze the cordial in marge tubs there's probably no need to actually add it, as it acts as a preservative if you are bottling the cordial.
|All prepped and ready for the sugar syrup to be poured on|
|This is where I hang all my jelly bags to drip!|
(and no it was not me who chose tiled kitchen work surfaces -
I absolutely HATE that, just inherited it with the house.)
Et voila! All that needs doing is either bottling up or putting in small containers in the freezer. It's sooooo simple!
I also have a super easy recipe for Strawberry Conserve. That's a posh name for jam but it's what it was called in the recipe I use. This comes from a book called "The Art of Preserving" by Jan Berry (no pun intended, I am sure!). I'm probably really not supposed to do this with her recipe but I'm not going to type it out!
|From "The Art of Preserving" by Jan Berry|
Because it is done over 4 days it makes it seem easy as the work is spread out.
|Prepping the strawbs on day one|
I did boil for longer than the 8 minutes stated in the recipe but I was using 2 kilos which is rather a lot more than in the recipe. (Mine took about 16 mins and I did the saucer wrinkle test to check on setting point). I really would not bother with all this with a mere 250g of berries. That just wouldn't be worth the hassle and frankly I'd rather just eat the strawbs! 2 kilos makes 6-7 jam jars worth.
|I love my Bonne Maman jars! They get reused time and again.|
Can you see my reflection in the Le Parfait bocal on the right? :-)
(Don't know the English for bocal/bocaux! -
preserving jar with rubber seal and clippy lid is a bit of a mouthful)
Et voila again! I don't do any of this water bath business with jam - it's just not something that's done in Britain (I don't think the French do either). So long as you put your hot jam into clean hot sterilised jars there is absolutely no need, as all that sugar acts as a preservative anyway. Even when my jar lids don't go pop and seal as they cool down I've still never, ever, had a problem with mould, and I have made one heck of a lot of jam and jelly since I moved here!