Monday, October 31, 2011

Tis the time for elderflower pop

Elderflower pop is one of those quintessentially English drinks that sounds like it belongs in an Enid Blyton book and so maybe it does but it also belongs most emphatically on the table. Delicately fragrant, deliciously refreshing and naturally brewed, it is one of the most pleasant summer drinks I know, and it tastes so much better home-made than buying it ready-made or as a cordial.
The elderflowers are out now so we've started making batches of it already. Basically, for a five litre mix, you need, first, about ten elderflower heads in full bloom. Pick them in full sun, because that releases their natural yeasts, it is definitely not a good idea to pick them when it's wet or even cloudy. You also need about 700 grams white sugar, 5 litres water, 1 lemon and 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar.
As soon as you've picked the flower heads, put them in a clean bucket or very large bowl along with the lemon juice, grated lemon rind, the sugar, and the vinegar. Add the cold water, stir till sugar has dissolved and leave to steep for 24 hours. Strain into clean old plastic soft-drink(best not to use glass, in case of explosions!) close tightly, and leave for at least two weeks. You will know when the pop is ready to drink by feeling the bottle--when it is tight, the pop has fizzed and you will be able to enjoy a lovely sparkling drink!

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