About Me

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London, United Kingdom
This blog will contain pictures and information from my everyday encounters with nature in London and the surrounding areas. I will log details of the origin of each photograph thus recording what there is to be seen and where it was seen. I very much welcome anyone else who can upload photos and information about nature in London and the home counties. I work freelance in the film industry so have plenty of days off. I hope to update Monday to Friday and once on the weekend posting at around 19.30, I don't post on bank holidays

Friday, 13 May 2011

Elder (Sambucus nigra)


Elder is a common tree and shrub. It usually flowers in June/July but as you can see from the photos I took today in Brockwell park it is quite early this year. It is quite easy to identify, I find the scent of the flowers particularly recognisable. As well as the 5/7 leaflet pattern. The word elder derives from the Anglo-Saxon aeld, which means fire because the hollow branches were blown up to stoke fire.  There are loads of recipes about for Elderflower and Elderberry so I thought I’d write one down here that sounds particularly good, from my favorite book at the moment; ‘Wild Food’ by Roger Phillips. I intend to make this in the next couple of weeks but need to reclaim some receptacles from a batch of Nettle Beer.

Elderflower Champagne
4 x Elderflower heads
4 ½ Litres cold water
1 lemon
650g Sugar
2 Tablespoons of white wine vinegar

Dissolve the sugar in a little warm water and allow to cool. Squeeze the juice from the lemon, cut the rind in 4  and put the pieces with the elderflowers in a large basin. Add the wine vinegar, pour on the rest of the cold water and allow to steep for 4 days. Strain off and bottle in screw top bottles. Drink in 6 to 10 days but test after 6 to see it’s not too fizzy. If it’s not worked leave for another week, sometimes the natural yeast in the flowers is slow to act. Serve with ice and lemon

Tip: Don’t wash the flowers it removes too much fragrance but check they are not badly infested with insects

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the info re. the origins of the name Elder, I've always found it quite fascinating that the branches have that pulpy bit in the middle that can be hollowed out.
    I just found your blog via the Dorset Cereal site.