How to Make Elderflower Syrup

| 6/10/2016 10:16:00 AM

Tags: food foraging, elderflowers, food preservation, syrups, cordials, Hannah Wernet, Austria,

Homemade Elderflower Syrup Recipe

I love this recipe. It’s no harder to make than a cup of tea, fills your kitchen with fragrance and is a great introduction to using foraged foods in the home.

Living in the city, with no garden or balcony, and not even a sunny window box for herbs, it seems hopeless to think of producing even a tiny bit of food for yourself. Then you start to walk around with open eyes, and maybe a foraging guide, like Richard Mabey’s Food For Free, and a new world of possibilities opens up.

I live in Graz, Austria, the second-biggest city in the country, and yet, even here, in this lively and prosperous city, little nuggets of wildness survive. The river banks are steep and lined with trees, many of them apples, walnuts and cherry.

In the poorer, more neglected parts of the city, old workshops crumble, and in the ruins grow brambles, nettles and dandelions.

The city’s limits have swollen in recent years, expanding to take in land that only a few decades ago was agricultural. You often see old farmhouses, low-roofed with bulging wooden walls, hugging a courtyard where chickens still run, and on either side loom shiny metal blocks of flats. I often think about these little farms, lost in the city, and wonder if they can feel the loss of their fields.

3/7/2018 10:32:22 AM

Two years ago, I made a recipe just like this, then stored the bottled syrup in the fridge. When I got it out, a cloudy growth was hanging around in the bottom third of the jar. I feared it could be C. botulinii, so threw it all out, and vowed to be more careful next year. Last year, same, even though I sterilized the jars plenty. Now I am thinking both the infusion technique and the acid levels are not enough to kill the bacterial spores. So, this year, I will make it and then pressure can it. Pressure canning reaches temps high enough to kill the spores. I will not take chances with the botulinii. It is ubiquitous, on most every surface out there.

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