Monday, 1 June 2009

The joy of elderflowers

During my lunch break, I sometimes go out for a brisk walk with a work colleague. We should do this more often, as we find ourselves spending our lunch time in the workplace doing more work, and that is no good for our mental well being. Our workplace is located near an industrial estate with a cemetery nearby, which we sometimes tend to cut through. We had not been our walks since I left for Paris, plus the rain over the past few days has been deterring us from leaving the building, until today when the sunshine decided to grace us with its presence.

Upon entering the cemetery we noticed how lush and green the trees were starting to look and the rhododendrons blooming in their many vibrant colours. As we turned the corner, a shimmer of glistening elderflowers caught my eye, and what was more brilliant the branches were within my reach. Yay, how could I resist. With help from my colleague, we managed to gather a bag full of elderflower heads and then walked back to work. I was feeling rather pleased with myself.
Now you know what I've been doing with myself this evening: the hard part was deciding between making elderflower cordial or elderflower champagne? Elderflower champagne it was. If it tuns out to be a success, I will share the recipe, so for now please be patient with me. It takes about three days to fizzle, then it has to be poured into bottles and left alone for two weeks before it can be consumed.
Note: the recipe was an explosive success.  Please follow here for the recipe.
While writing this entry it occurred to me that both my workplace and allotment site are within walking distance of cemetery. What a happy coincidence. I don’t worry about the dead; it’s the living that sometimes frighten me.


  1. Hurrah you got your mitts on some elderflowers - I've still to bag some but hoping to do so this weekend. Look forward to knowing how the champers turns out.

  2. Wow - this looks amazing. Is it non-alcoholic, or does it ferment?

  3. goodshoeday,

    Thanks for celebrating me getting my mitts on some elderflowers, you sound just as excited as I was. I am real chuffed about it. They are stewing away and will need bottling up on Thursday. I will let you know how I get on with my first ever batch of elderflower champagne.

  4. reapwhatyourgrow,
    Thank you for visiting. I am always humbled when a new blogger comes by.

    The elerflower champagne is non-alcoholic. This is my first ever experiment with brewing (other than tea of course). Fingers crossed it all turns out well. We'll find out in two weeks time.

  5. I always feel a bit weird about eating things that have grown in graveyards. Can't help thinking they grow so well because of all the, well, compost, under the ground...

    Still, probably just me. I'm sure it will taste delicious.....!

  6. There are a few elders around my site. I saw some plot holders picking them this week. I must get some for myself before the ladder comes out and they all go..
    In answer to your question - i know gogs was a regional word used in the Midlands [meaning berries] so i think that's where the term goosegogs came from

  7. thedroolingvegetable

    The cycle of life I guess.


    You must try and get some soon. I noted some of the elders starting to bronze up, therefore no good for consumption.

    Thanks for sharing re the origin of the word gog, I feel better knowing.

  8. I will have to do some research to see if I can find elderflowers. I know we have elderberries. Is it the same?

    I think most older graveyards are so pretty.

  9. Hi Michele,

    I have been told my father in law, that he knows elderflowers as elderberries, so I can confirm they must be the same.

    Interesting some of these regional and country variations in describing certain vegetables. You say zuchini, we say courgette, you say cilantrao, we say coriander. Makes it much more interesting I think.

    I also agree that some of the older graveyards do have a certain charm about them. I don't mind walking through them on sunny days, but on dark wintery ones, I would give it second thought.

  10. I think elderberry wine used to be a popular homemade drink here. I've never had it though, and I'm not sure if many people still make it.

  11. There has been a real revival here with people growing their own, and people rediscovering free wild food, including wild garlic, rosehips and elderflowers. Hence the popularity of elders during the Spring.

    I know you can buy elderflower cordial in shops, but it is so expensive, considering you can pick and make your own for the fraction of the price.

  12. Hi Shaheen! I do love elder flowers too! Here in Italy we have 'Sambuca' a sweet liqueur we made from elder berries I guess, and we also cook some lovely buns or 'frollini' with the flowers. I made them last spring and here you can find the recipe



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