how to: make elderflower syrup {with vanilla}.

My mother is the kind of resourceful woman who can create everything out of nothing. When I was little, we would go for walks during the summer months, here and there she would pick greens, flowers and berries, just from the side of the road, and the next day, with her pickings in hand, she’d make some magic in the kitchen. Like this elderflower syrup.

In the beginning of June you can find elderflower literally everywhere here in Germany and most other places in the Northern Hemishpere. Near rivers, in parks, on the road side; just keep an eye out for that beautiful white blossomy tree. Be careful only to pick the freshest flower heads and leave the ones past their prime. Also, picking on more than one spot is recommended, so the tree will have enough flowers left to spread itself and grow berries (for juice!) later in the year.

Elderflower syrup can be used in many ways. My Mum always made lemonade by adding a splash of syrup to a glass of (coconut) water. But who’s to say you can’t pour some in your drink? Vodka Elderflower sounds intriguing. Or go for a classic Hugo: mix equal parts sparkling water and prosecco, add a splash of elderflower syrup, some mint leaves and a slice of lime. It is a most refreshing and delicious drink for the summer time.


Recipe for Elderflower Syrup

from my Mama

1 organic lemon

~ 500 g sugar (although I just winged it and used a bit less)

500 ml water

~ 15 elderflower heads

1 vanilla bean (see variations)

Wash lemon and cut in slices. Put sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for a bit, then set aside to cool. In a clean glass jar, put in lemon slices and elderflower heads and pour syrup on top.

Covered, let it steep for 2-3 days on a cool spot (I put it in the fridge) and stir occasionally.

Strain through a sieve or cheese cloth and bring to a quick boil once more. Still hot, pour in clean bottles or jars. Store in the fridge.


*Variation 1: you can also add the lemon slices in the beginning and let boil with the water. This will result in a somewhat more bitter flavour. I  prefer it this way.

*Variation 2: slice a vanilla bean in half, scrape out seeds and add both to boil with the water. Leave in to steep.

Let me know if you like it. Do you use elderflower syrup in your kitchen?