Saturday, 5 September 2015

Last days of Summer (and an Elderberry Cordial recipe)

I had sort of been dreading the end of Summer. This year I have enjoyed the long days and my garden so much, seeing everything bloom and blossom and fill the garden with scent, that I felt really quite anxious about the days drawing in again and how melancholy it might make me feel.

But as it has got nearer I've remembered that oh I do like this time of year! The golden afternoon sun, the slight crispness of the mornings... Plus this year I am going Back To School quite literally (more on that soon) which is exciting and scary in equal measure.  Anyway while I was worrying about the Summer ending I tried to think of seasonal Autumn activities to keep me busy and remembered how much I do like a good forage!  The blackberries are already doing their thing so I spent a lovely day with my friend walking the hedgerows, it was the weekend of the balloon fiesta and the weather was glorious, the perfect late Summer day.

Something else I was keen to get this year were elderberries, there are loads of elder trees near where I live and much as I like elderflower cordial you can buy that anywhere (in about three different shops within walking distance of my house, for starters), so I was much more interested to try using the berries which I've never really tasted before, and are used in a lot of my Swedish cookbooks. I had been eyeing up the trees on my cycle to work so one Friday evening when they were at their peak stopped off on my way home and managed to get a whole bike basket full pretty effortlessly.


So, onto the recipe!

Elderberry Cordial

This is from Trine Hahnemann's "The Nordic Diet" (available here).

1 Kg elderberries (I didn't have this many so I adjusted accordingly. Acordialingly? Sorry....)
3 Bramley apples (I used some tiny apples I picked when foraging for blackberries, for extra forager points)
500g sugar
500ml water

Rinse the berries, removing the large stalks (you'll strain it later so no need to be too fussy).

Place the berries in a large pan with water, and peeled and chopped apples.  Bring to the boil, and let simmer until the berries burst.

Line a sieve or colander with muslin and strain the cooked berries and apples through it. You can really squeeze the muslin to get as much juice as possible from the fruit.

Place the juice into a clean pot and bring back to the boil.  Add the sugar and let it boil for 2-3 minutes.

 Pour the hot juice into sterilised bottles.  Once opened, keep in the fridge.


The result is really nice, not dissimilar to blueberry cordial but slightly more dry. I've been drinking it with sparkling water but according to Trine it also makes a lovely hot winter warmer with rum so I'd better save some for the winter months!  I might try and make some more if I can get back out and get some more berries before they're over/eaten by birds.

I think I've made my peace with the onset of Autumn, I'm ready for blankets and knitwear and cosy nesting times. I'm all about the cosy afterall!

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