Fruity elderberry lemonade Elderflower lemonade made from fragrant elderflowers, honey and lime. This is a spring floral take on honey lemonade that’s worth searching for elderberry.
Elderflowers are best now. You can harvest them from late May to June, depending on where you live. Elderberry is easy to find in the forest and on roadsides. As with other wild plants, it is best to avoid busy roads. Also same, beg not to harvest too much. Leave something for the bees, something for the trees and also for the formation of elderberries. My general rule is a maximum of two flower heads per elderberry plant.
Since insects also love these flowers, I shake them slightly when harvesting to rid their heads of bugs. You should put them in a loose bag that has plenty of room for the umbels as they are quite delicate. You should then use the elderflowers as soon as possible.
Look for umbels where the tiny flowers are fully open. This makes the flowers much easier to detach from the stems and ensures maximum flavor for culinary use. It is also more likely that insects could reach them for pollination before harvest.
The buds can be stored in a cloth bag in the fridge for a day or two if needed, but as with most wild foods, it’s best to process them on the day of harvest. It’s a bit of work as you will need to carefully pull the flowers off the stems (the stems, leaves and everything but the flowers and berries are poisonous) so take that into account in the time it takes here.
If the poison factor scares you, note that elderberry has been considered a sacred plant and has been consumed for thousands of years. Tiny bits of stem are fine—you’re straining them anyway—but I want to make sure you’re aware that not all plants are edible. If you are particularly nervous about this or can’t get fresh elderflowers, you can also buy dried elderflowers.
Make fruity elderberry lemonade yourself
- 5 stems lemongrass
- 4 limes Organic or untreated
- 250 G honey or 200g of sugar
- 20 pc elderflower umbels
- 500 G currants red
- 500 G strawberries
- 2 l carbonated mineral water chilled
- ice cubes
- lime slices
- mint, lemon balm...
- Wash the lemongrass, cut into pieces 3-5 cm long and press with the flat side of the knife to break it.
- Wash the limes in hot water, dry them and peel or grate the zest very thinly. Squeeze the juice.
- Put the lemongrass, lime juice and zest with the honey (sugar) in a saucepan and pour in 250 ml of water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Take the pot off the heat.
- Check the elderflower umbels for any insects that may be present. Remove the stems from the elderflower umbels and add the blossoms to the hot syrup. Let the syrup steep for 3 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Pour the liquid through a fine sieve and squeeze out well.
- Wash currants. Put a few bunches aside for later garnish. Pluck the remaining berries from the stalks. Wash the strawberries and cut off the stalks.
- Finely puree the berries in a blender and pass through a sieve.
- Fill ice cubes into glasses or a sufficiently large jug or carafe (approx. 2.5 - 3 liters). Add the fruit puree and the elderflower syrup and fill up with chilled mineral water. The mixing ratio is about 1:10 or according to your personal taste.
- Garnish with the reserved redcurrants, elderflower umbel and lime slices and serve immediately.
- The cooked syrup can be stored in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days.