Somehow I missed the elderflowers last year. One moment they were nodding down at me but when I went out with a basket the next weekend the flowers had turned brown. Elderflowers need to be white and fresh for cordial, wine or anything else. Once the brown tinge appears on the flowers they have gone bitter. If I had searched in shadier spots, I might have found perfect elderflowers but I just didn’t have the time.
Having missed out on all the elderflower recipes I’ve been keeping a beady eye open for this year’s first frothy flowers. They make great cordial, wine and champagne. But they are also the key ingredient in early summer jellies. Jellies are so easy to make and you can’t beat a homemade one. They are great for a supper or lunch party – small glasses of tangy delight can be made in advance. Jellies are easy to make and 99% of people love them.
Apart from the five a day fruit factor, fresh fruit jellies are always a treat and the gelatine in jellies is very good for your nails and hair.
If you are planning to make this jelly. Pick the flowers early in the morning and make the jelly immediately. I used some of own raspberries from the freezer. The tablespoonful of fresh lemon juice is essential to lift the flavours from interestingly scented to a zingy ‘I must have another. Now’ desert.
So always make a few extras.
Most homemade fruit liqueurs would suffice for the Adult Ingredient. Today I used Kirsch as our stocks are running low in the liqueur section of the ‘cellar’. Roll on July and the harvesting of raspberries, gooseberries and currants. Homemade liqueurs are well worth considering. Within three months you could have a tasty grog and within six a very special glass that will detain your visitors a bit longer than expected (sometimes another 24 hours. Beware).
|Homemade elderflower and raspberry jellies recipe|
- 500ml water
- 40g of elderflowers (no stalks). Roughly 5 big flower heads
- 100g of vanilla sugar (caster sugar that has a vanilla pod sitting in the jar)
- 125g of raspberries
- 4 sheets of gelatine
- 1 l.azrge tblsp of fresh lemon juice
- Half a tsp of kirsch
- Dissolve the sugar in the water, add all the raspberries and elderflowers. Bring slowly up to simmering point. Simmer the raspberries for 5 minutes and then remove from the heat and steep for five minutes.
- Strain the mixture through muslin and reserve the liquid.
- Meanwhile soak the gelatine in cold water until soft. Squeeze out the water gently and add the gelatine to the (hot not boiling) raspberry liquid and stir to dissolve.
- Allow the jelly mixture to cool before dividing the remaining raspberries between 6-8 100ml glasses.
- Pour the jelly mixture into each glass and allow to set (in the fridge (this can take several hours). Decoate with elderflowers(edible). These jellies will keep for a two or three days in the fridge.
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