Elderflower Power

It was a sunny warm day at the Bodensee and the town of Langenargen was bustling with people. The Match Race attracts people from all over the world to watch sport sailors race across the lake in high-class sailboats. Every year the event takes place along the promenade, with beer gardens, music, food, and fancy cars. It is an event that attracts the locals, the posh, and the sailing folk alike.

I have zero clue about sailboats, nor do I care much for the race, but still it was interesting to see how it was done. Spinnakers billowed from the sailboats to carry them across the lake and back, and agile sailing brought winners to the shore. I lazily sat in the sun with a nice cool beer, and took some photos in remembrance.

After a few hours of sitting in the sun, I decided to venture away from the crowds and from the town Langenargen itself. Today would be the perfect day to harvest elderflower for some elderflower syrup. I grabbed my bike, a canvas bag, and a scissor, and off I was. I stopped at every elderflower bush I saw and picked the five most beautiful clusters. I made sure to take only side roads and trails with little to no traffic to insure that my flowers were clean of toxins and dirt. My canvas bag was filled within an hour with beautiful fragrant flowers. Now off to the kitchen!!

Here in Germany, elderflower syrup, also known as holunderbl├╝tensirup, has made its way into fancy cocktails, drinks, and desserts. Its floral aroma is very unique and pleasant on a hot summer day. The typical way the syrup is used is in a drink called Hugo. It is a mixture of elder blossom syrup, prosecco, and a splash of sparkling water with fresh mint leaves and ice.  Absolutely refreshing and delicious…

I have also used it in fresh berry tarts. For example, in the strawberry tart, you can substitute the syrup for the sugar in either the custard or in the clear glaze. Also, you can add it in a simple yogurt dessert to add a floral note. It is versatile, unique, and elderflowers have some wonderful health benefits to boost.

Many people may have noticed elderflowers or berries in herbal immune boosting teas. This is because elderflowers can help reduce mucous due to seasonal colds, allergies and hay fever, as well as keep the immune system stimulated.  Elderflowers also have known benefits in digestive irregularities, may it be diarrhea or constipation and can help detoxify the blood. The flowers and leaves themselves can also be used to soothe burns or dry skin.

If you want to get creative with this wonderful flower please try this delicious elixir, I promise you will not be disappointed! It makes a great gift too.

Elderflower Syrup
Makes about 2.5 liters
50 Elderflower Bulbs (rinsed)
1.5 L filtered water
1.5 Kilo Organic Sugar 
2 Organic Lemons
2 Organic Oranges
30 gram Citric Acid

1.   Heat water and sugar until sugar is dissolved.
2.  Meanwhile rinse the flowers to remove bugs and dust, and clip away the branches and leaves. You only want the flowers and the tiny stems they are on. Put the cleaned flowers into a large pot
3.  Zest and slice both the lemon and oranges and put into the pot with elderflowers.
4.   Pour the warmed sugar water over the flowers and citrus.
5.  Sprinkle in the citric acid and stir well until all flowers and citrus are under the level of the sugar water.
6.  Cover and stir occasionally. Allow the mixture to sit a minimum of 24 hours and a max of 48 hours.
7.  Strain mixture through a muslin cloth and then through fine sieves to remove any zest or flower particles.
8.  Pour into clean, boiled canning jars or bottles. Seal and keep refrigerated. 

Optional: Fresh ginger root is also a nice addition in place of the orange. Also, you can keep the orange and lemon slices for dessert garnishes later.

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