If I had a large country kitchen, I would experiment with dandelion wine, and with elderflower wine which sparkles like champagne. Instead, I content myself with trying a little elderflower milk punch and using the dandelion flowers in fritters and small omelettes. I also make several bottles of very concentrated elderflower syrup or cordial, of which I never seem to make enough. It makes the most exquisite sorbets and refreshing summer drinks, flavours fruit salads, creams and custards, and adds a magical touch to salad dressings.
Quarter the lemons and limes, squeeze the juice into a large bowl, and add the skins, together with the tartaric acid and the elderflower heads. Add the sugar and water, stir well, cover loosely, and let it stand for 24–36 hours, stirring from time to time. Remove the lemon and lime pieces. Pour the flowers and liquid into a large saucepan, and bring to the boil; hold there for 2–3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool. Strain into bottles, and seal.
Almond-scented hawthorn flowers can be used in the same way to make a cordial.
© 1995 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.