By the end of May and the beginning of June the elder starts blossoming. Its Latin name is Sambucus Nigra and botanically it belongs to the honeysuckle family. Elder trees are found almost everywhere in Europe in West Asia and right across North America.
Both flowers and berries can be made into elderberry wine, and in Hungary an elderberry brandy is produced. The berries are best not eaten raw as they are mildly poisonous, causing vomiting, particularly if eaten unripe. The mild cyanide toxicity is destroyed by cooking. The berries can also be made into jam, pies. All green parts of the plant are poisonous, containing cyanogenic glycosides. The berries are also used in the St-Germain Liquor. The flowers may be used to make an herbal tea, which is believed as a remedy for colds and fever. In Europe, the flowers are made into a syrup or cordial, which is diluted with water before drinking. The flowers can also be used to make a mildly alcoholic, sparkling elderflower 'champagne', and can be dipped into a light batter and then fried to make elderflower fritters.
In Scandinavia, elder berry and elder flower juice is commonly consumed as saft - concentrated juice to be mixed with water. In Scandinavia and Germany, soup made from the elder berry is a traditional meal.
Some days ago I prepared two types of elderflower drinks. For the first one I mixed about 1 and a half liter of water with 150 g sugar, added 50 g caramelised sugar, about 10 elderflower and 1 lemon. Leave the mixture in a cool place for about 5 days and sieve. Serve chilled.
For the other type boil 1 liter of water, add 300 g sugar and after it is dissolved set aside and let it cool. After add sliced lemon and pour the mixture over the elderflower about 10 pieces. Keep it in a cool place for 1-2 days and after sieve. This is kind of a syrup so serve it mixed with some water.
This is my entry for the Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Maninas from Maninas: Food Matters.