In the May sunshine the hedges are smothered in the white blossom of Hawthorn and Elder. Some of our volunteers were interested in making elderflower cordial – now very fashionable as a ‘presse’ or a posh pop, so Susanna has kindly shared her tried and tested recipe.

20 elderflower heads ( no insects on board and nice and young – just open and full of pollen )
31/2 lb granulated sugar
3 pints of cooled boiled water
50 grams citric acid
5 lemons sliced

Spread the elderflower heads out on a clean cloth, and all the little insects will run away…Mix in a large pan or bucket. Cover and leave for 24 hours stirring every so often. Strain and bottle in clean sterile bottles ( glass juice bottles or wine bottles washed and sterilised in an oven are good ).Label and store in a cool place.Will last until next years elderflowers start to open.Makes a refreshing drink when you add cold sparkling water . Is also nice to make cocktails or add elderflower flavour to other dishes ( e.g. with gooseberry ).

The scent of elderflower is very distinctive, as are the flat heads, but there are a couple of other ‘lacy’ plants, such as viburnum, which look superficially similar. If you are in any doubt – don’t pick!