It’s Day 4 of the #30DaysWild challenge and it seems someone finally told June that it is supposed to be a summer month. The sun has been out and gloriously warm – a perfect day to go searching for elderflower. The sunshine helps to warm the flowers and bring out their scent, with the same going for any other blooms you may want to make into a syrup incidentally, such as roses and lavender.
I bought my citric acid in readiness two weeks ago at the very first hint of elderflowers breaking into their exquisite tiny white stars. Last year they had sold out and we had to drink the first batch straight away. A terrible tragedy I’m sure you’ll agree.
I’m one of those people who feels guilty for things they haven’t even done and I always feel a bit like a naughty school girl when the chemist asks me what I need the citric acid for. ‘Yes,’ I confirm, ‘it is definitely only for elderflower cordial,’ I answer. ‘Yes, I do make quite a lot of it’. With my one year old on my hip, bags under my eyes and in the same clothes as yesterday I obviously look every inch the mad home-scientist or a more suspect character still. Or perhaps people don’t make elderflower cordial much these days?
Foraging for elderflower is a great activity for the girls. Roo loves holding the bag and trying to spot elderflower trees. She’s pretty good this year at identifying them without help – it’s amazing what tiny people can remember from one year to the next. We revisited pollination and chatted about why we don’t take all the flowers that are out. We watched to see who else of a smaller and buzzing variety might be visiting the elderflower too and talked about how the flowers will develop into berries for the birds if we leave some undisturbed.
Beth was happy to simply amble along outdoors, sniffing flowers and investigating the texture of plants and leaves with her hands. She got very excited when a bee flew past her nose. It’s possible she munched a couple of elderflowers on the way home and she has some scratches on her legs from falling into some thistles by mistake – the signs of an outdoor toddler.
Now the girls are in bed, the mud of the fields washed off in a huge bath. I’ve been preparing the elderflower heads ready to infuse overnight whilst sipping on my newly discovered combo of elderberry cordial (last autumn’s harvest) and tonic. It’s a cracking combination – one I would readily offer as a non-alcoholic alternative for a summer party. Now though, I am off to the shop to buy lemons for there is not a single lemon in the house and I need them for the cordial. And there I was, thinking I was organised for once.
What have you been up to out in nature today? If you’d like to make your own elderflower cordial then you can find the recipe and tips on how to correctly identify elderflower on this post from last year here.