Words & Photography by Maja Moliere
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.
Elderberry 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.
1 organic lemon
500g sugar (although I just winged it and used a bit less)
Approx. 15 elderflower heads
1 vanilla bean (see variations)
Wash lemon and cut in slices. Put sugar and water in a pot and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for a bit, then set aside to cool. Put the lemon slices and elderflower heads in a clean jar and pour syrup on top.
Covered, let it steep for 2-3 days on a cool spot and stir occasionally.
Remove the lemons and elderflowers and strain into a pan through a sieve or cheese cloth. 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 flavor, which I personally love.
*Variation 2: slice a vanilla bean in half, scrape out seeds and add both to boil with the water. Leave in to steep.