For the first time ever I managed this year to take advantage of the many tress with elderberry flowers in the area. So I made (what I think at least in Scotland would be called) squash. A sirupy drink containing quite a lot of sugar, which is made to be rather strong, but is added water to before drinking. We call it saft (we also have ‘jus’, ‘nektar’, and ‘sirup’, which are all similar but not the same).
After trawling through dozens of blogs and cooking sites online, I finally found a recipe I was willing to try. Many called for what seemed to be extensive amounts of sugar, only to be balanced by quite a lot of added citric acid. After reading up, I set out with my own recipe made up after comparing many others.
What I used was:
about 50 bouquets of elderberry flowers
4 lemons (washed well and preferably organic)
1 kg demerara sugar
2 litres water
I picked the flowers while visiting my parents, and thus simply froze them to keep them from wilting completely. That resulted in a ball of brown flowers that were lumped together so much that I did not manage to rinse them. I imagined the cold would have killed of most bugs, and the forthcoming heat would kill the rest, so I simply shrugged and got on with it.
Then I measured up two litres of plain, good, cold water and added to a large pot with one kilo of demerara sugar. I’m not a big fan of white sugar, even though that makes the colour of the ‘saft’ a lot nicer, so that is the reason for the brownish colour of my drinks. I brought the mix to a boil and let it simmer until the sugar had dissolved. Meanwhile I sliced (I lie a bit here, it was actually a friend of mine who sliced the lemons, but I think he would prefer to keep that a secret, so shhh!) the lemons and added them to a big bowl with the ball of intertwines flowers. After the sugar had dissolved I poured the water over into the bowl.
Now, as you can see, this process is easy peasy, and takes no effort at all. I was so impressed with myself, I was keeping this old tradition alive, feeling like a domestic goddess, and it was no hard work at all! But then on to the final part 😉
Take the bowl and cover with plastic, a lid, or something that will keep away yucky things that are attracted to sugar. Then leave somewhere that is not too warm (out of the sunshine!) for about three days. If you manage to stir it once a day, you’ll do a better job than I did!
After those three days, sift it through a muslin cloth (or similar) and either freeze in smaller boxes (glasses, etc) or add to sterilized jars or glasses (I froze boxes of ‘saft’, so much easier).
To one part ‘saft’ add about two parts water.
I found the saft to be a little too sugary. Next year I don’t want to add more lemons as the taste of the lemons can easily overpower the delicate taste of the elderflowers. I was so pleased having made all organic saft this year, but might have to turn to powdered citric acid next time. Unless you have a good idea?
And here is, btw, where I found most of my inspiration.