Elderflower Syrup

Finally, the elderflower blossoms, and this year, I had to pay quite a price for the syrup. It happened that I discovered a wonderful, huge elder tree just on my way home from work, which was laden with elderflowers just in my reach. I happily started plucking the umbels and was so absorbed that I only got a strange feeling as something crawled into both my ears. 
And that was when I was already covered in black ants, from head to toe! Apparently, they had a street along the sidewalk and thought that I was an ideal bridge, or whatever. To make matter worse, they found their way under my clothes, but not back out again, which was regrettable for everyone involved! Well, after removing nearly all the ants (to the great entertainment of people passing by) I fearlessly (and very fast) plucked some more umbels and went on retreat...and I really value this year's syrup after all that I had to do to obtain it! ;-)
Since I nearly fell for "fake elderflowers" (some type of snowball, I think) this year, let's start with a picture of "my elderflower tree", the one with the ants highway beneath. Just to the right of it was a fake elder, which also blossoms sooner in the year! You can see the difference in the leaves, at least in the direct comparison: elder to the left, fake elder to the right! The elder umbels are bigger and less round - and blooming nicely at this time!

Ingredients for about 3 Litres:
30 elderflower umbels
2 organic lemons
1 kg sugar
2 L water
40 g citric acid

empty, clean bottles

Energy: 150 kcal per 100 ml

Browse the elderflowers with water, if necessary, and carefully remove small insects. Cut the lemon in thin slices. 

Cook the water with the sugar in a big pot and let the mixture cool a bit. Add the elderflowers and the lemon slices.
Keep the mix covered for 2 days, check every now and again whether all the flowers are covered with syrup, possibly use a plastic lid to weigh the flowers down.

The time that a syrup can be kept generally depends on the sugar content, the citric acid content and on the type of preparation (cold or cooked). That's why I heated the syrup after sieving out the blooms, to about 80°C, that is, well before boiling temperature, and added the citric acid to taste. Without the citric acid, the syrup tastes way too sweet!
The clean, dry bottles can be sterilized in the oven at 140°C for about 15 minutes. Use a funnel to pour in the hot syrup and close with lids sterilized in hot water, that should add to the time that the syrup keeps!

If you keep an opened bottle in the fridge, the elderflower syrup lasts for more than a year (and than, you can brave the ants and make the next round). The syrup is great with prosecco, sparkling water or as sauce over ice cream etc.

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