A traditional favourite, Elderflowers peak at Midsummer. Pick them in the fullness of a sunny day, ideally on Midsummer's Day. The Elder is sacred to the Mother Goddess and is often called the Witch's Tree, the Elder Mother, or Queen of the Trees. It is protective with wonderful healing properties. It aids transformation, change and renewal, and we are at a major turning point in the Wheel of the Year, so the gift of Elderflowers is welcome.
8 litres water
1.25 kg sugar
8 large elderflower heads
4 tablespoons mild white wine vinegar
Do use screw top bottles - large plastic bottles used for squash etc are perfect. This stuff will fizz and if not bottled tightly it can explode! I keep mine in the garden so should the worst occur it isn't going to make a mess all over the kitchen or larder... Before you begin make sure the elderflowers are clean - no little wandering insects or bugs.
Boil the water and dissolve the sugar into it (Fairtrade is good)
When the water is cool, add the elderflowers, juice of two of the lemons and slices of the other two, plus the vinegar.
Cover with a clean cloth and leave for a day.
Strain through a fine sieve or piece of muslin, carefully squeezing the flowers to extract as much flavour as possible.
Store in clean screw top bottles.
Leave well alone for 10 days or so. Drink within a month. Enjoy and give thanks to the Spirit of Elder.