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8 forms of capital active hope agroecology agroforestry alder buckthorn Amazon anxiety apples arthritis back yard beans Bec Hellouin beech tree bees beneficial berries biochar biodigester biodiversity blackberries blackthorn book review brain brassica cage budget build building campesino capital card deck Celtic festivals change changes chemical-free chickens christmas circular clay pot cleansers cleansing milks climate change climate emergency climate grief climate solutions climbers climbing cob comfrey community compost compost teas connection consciousness conservation container cooking coppice coppicing cordial cosmology courgettes crafts crisis crop protection Cross Quarter Festival cultural emergence culture cut flowers cycles degraded design diary diversity DIY do it yourself dryland earth care Earth's energy ecoculture economics ecopoetry ecosystem ecosystem restoration camps ecosystems edges edible edible flowers education efficiency elder elderflowers elements elixir energy equinox ethics face mask fair shares Fairtrade farming feedback feminine ferns figs film firewood floristry flower essence flower garden flowers food food forest food garden footbath forage foraging forest garden forest gardening forests fruit fruit leather fruit trees fungi future future care gardening garlic gift economy gin Give Nature a voice Glennie Kindred global poverty glut grapes greenhouse grief groundcover grow grow food grow your own growing guilds habitat habits handcream harvest harvests hawthorn hazel hazelnut healing shrubs healing trees health healthy soil heart health hedgerow hedging herbal herbal remedies herbal teas herbalist herbs holistic holistic planned grazing home homeless homemade wine homestead hope Hugelkultur humanure hummus hungry gap IBC tanks Imbolc incense increase yields Indigenous inexpensive influence inspiration International Womens Day jam keyline kitchen garden lacto-fermentation Lammas land landscape landscapes life lifestyle limeflowers livelihood livestock living labs logs Looby Macnamara lotion low cost low-impact Lush Spring Prize macerations Manda Scott Mangwende Orphan Care Trust market garden market gardening marmalade marshmallow mass heater meadowsweet medicinal microbes microfarm Midwest Permaculture mimic mindset mitigation money Morag Gamble moringa Mother Earth mulch multifunctional mushrooms native plants natural natural building natural fertiliser natural skincare natural swimming pool nature nature connection nitrogen no dig no waste no-dig novel November nutrition nuts observe oca October off-grid oil cleansing orchard orchards organic organic flowers organic gardening outdoor shower oven oxymel oyster pallets pasture-fed patterns people people care peoplecare perennials permaculture permaculture design permaculture magazine award permaculutre permayouth pesto pests philippines pine tree pips pizza oven plant profile plants pollinators pollution polyculture polycultures preserving principles propagating protection pruning prunings psycho-spiritual awareness psychospiritual transformation rainforest rainwater raspberries recipe recipes reduce reed beds regeneration regenerative regenerative agriculture relative location relative matter remedy renewable renewable energy resources restoration reuse revolution rhythms rootstock rootstocks roundhouse roundwood runner beans sage salad salads salve Samhain schools Scotland scotts pine seasonal seasons seeds selfcare Sepp Holzer september septic tanks sewage treatment shade shamanism sheet mulching shrubs skincare sloes slugs small solutions small-scale smallholding social justice soil health solar solutions sowing spiritual spring squash stacking functions stock-free straw straw bale summer sustainable Sweet Bay syntropic systems temperate terraces thistles thrutopia timber timber framing tincture tonic toolkit tools transformation trees upcycle urban urban gardening veg garden vegan veganic vermicomposting vinegar walnuts waste water water cleansing watering weeds wellbeing wetland wild edges wild food wild garlic wildflower wildlife wine recipes wings winter winter greens winter salads wood stove woodburner woodland woodland management woodlands worms yarrow year round year-round food yield young people youth zai pits zone 00 zoning

Topics

8 forms of capital active hope agroecology agroforestry alder buckthorn Amazon anxiety apples arthritis back yard beans Bec Hellouin beech tree bees beneficial berries biochar biodigester biodiversity blackberries blackthorn book review brain brassica cage budget build building campesino capital card deck Celtic festivals change changes chemical-free chickens christmas circular clay pot cleansers cleansing milks climate change climate emergency climate grief climate solutions climbers climbing cob comfrey community compost compost teas connection consciousness conservation container cooking coppice coppicing cordial cosmology courgettes crafts crisis crop protection Cross Quarter Festival cultural emergence culture cut flowers cycles degraded design diary diversity DIY do it yourself dryland earth care Earth's energy ecoculture economics ecopoetry ecosystem ecosystem restoration camps ecosystems edges edible edible flowers education efficiency elder elderflowers elements elixir energy equinox ethics face mask fair shares Fairtrade farming feedback feminine ferns figs film firewood floristry flower essence flower garden flowers food food forest food garden footbath forage foraging forest garden forest gardening forests fruit fruit leather fruit trees fungi future future care gardening garlic gift economy gin Give Nature a voice Glennie Kindred global poverty glut grapes greenhouse grief groundcover grow grow food grow your own growing guilds habitat habits handcream harvest harvests hawthorn hazel hazelnut healing shrubs healing trees health healthy soil heart health hedgerow hedging herbal herbal remedies herbal teas herbalist herbs holistic holistic planned grazing home homeless homemade wine homestead hope Hugelkultur humanure hummus hungry gap IBC tanks Imbolc incense increase yields Indigenous inexpensive influence inspiration International Womens Day jam keyline kitchen garden lacto-fermentation Lammas land landscape landscapes life lifestyle limeflowers livelihood livestock living labs logs Looby Macnamara lotion low cost low-impact Lush Spring Prize macerations Manda Scott Mangwende Orphan Care Trust market garden market gardening marmalade marshmallow mass heater meadowsweet medicinal microbes microfarm Midwest Permaculture mimic mindset mitigation money Morag Gamble moringa Mother Earth mulch multifunctional mushrooms native plants natural natural building natural fertiliser natural skincare natural swimming pool nature nature connection nitrogen no dig no waste no-dig novel November nutrition nuts observe oca October off-grid oil cleansing orchard orchards organic organic flowers organic gardening outdoor shower oven oxymel oyster pallets pasture-fed patterns people people care peoplecare perennials permaculture permaculture design permaculture magazine award permaculutre permayouth pesto pests philippines pine tree pips pizza oven plant profile plants pollinators pollution polyculture polycultures preserving principles propagating protection pruning prunings psycho-spiritual awareness psychospiritual transformation rainforest rainwater raspberries recipe recipes reduce reed beds regeneration regenerative regenerative agriculture relative location relative matter remedy renewable renewable energy resources restoration reuse revolution rhythms rootstock rootstocks roundhouse roundwood runner beans sage salad salads salve Samhain schools Scotland scotts pine seasonal seasons seeds selfcare Sepp Holzer september septic tanks sewage treatment shade shamanism sheet mulching shrubs skincare sloes slugs small solutions small-scale smallholding social justice soil health solar solutions sowing spiritual spring squash stacking functions stock-free straw straw bale summer sustainable Sweet Bay syntropic systems temperate terraces thistles thrutopia timber timber framing tincture tonic toolkit tools transformation trees upcycle urban urban gardening veg garden vegan veganic vermicomposting vinegar walnuts waste water water cleansing watering weeds wellbeing wetland wild edges wild food wild garlic wildflower wildlife wine recipes wings winter winter greens winter salads wood stove woodburner woodland woodland management woodlands worms yarrow year round year-round food yield young people youth zai pits zone 00 zoning

5 Elderflower Recipes

No dig expert and kitchen gardener, Stephanie Hafferty, shares five elderflower recipes. Learn to make elderflower champagne, liqueur, sugar, vinegar and oil.

The hedgerows are filled with creamy elderflowers. It’s time to forage! Choose elderflower heads that are in full blossom and at their most fragrant to make delicious drinks, skin care and preserves. If you can, try to collect your flowers from areas without too much traffic pollution and above the ‘wee line’. (Imagine a passing wild animal or dog passing by and needing a wee – so picking 60cm or so above the ground should be ok.) Choose elderflower heads with open flowers and no brown bits. Check carefully for blackfly and other bugs.

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Tip! If you are not familiar with elder trees, do get someone who is to come on your forage with you. The tree has a very distinctive smell – the flowers are gorgeous, the leaves and bark not so much (can smell a bit like stale cat wee) – but there are other frothy white flowers in the hedgerows at this time of year and some of them are toxic. Leave your collected flowerheads uncovered for half an hour or so, if you can, to allow any hitchhikers to crawl away.

In all of these recipes I have removed the blossom from the stalks with my fingers.

Elderflower champagne

1 gallon / 4.55 litres water
1 1/4 lb/ 570g sugar
12 heads elderflowers blossoms
1 lemon sliced
2 tbsp white wine vinegar

Boil the water and pour into a fermentation bucket. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Leave to cool.

Add the flowers, slices of lemon and wine vinegar and stir. Replace the lid and leave for a week, stirring daily. Elderflowers have their own natural wild yeasts but if after 4 days the wine hasn’t started to ferment, add a packet of champagne yeast to get things moving. After a week, strain the wine through muslin into a large clean container. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave for a few hours for the sediment to settle.

Syphon off into strong champagne style bottles or plastic bottles (clean recycled ones) and cork. It will be ready to drink in a week.

**Put the bottles in a secure place, they can be very explosive! Inside a box in a shed, or in the cupboard under the stairs, so that if they explode it doesn’t go everywhere. If you are using screw tops, check every day and release the pressure slightly.**

Elderflower liqueur

1 litre vodka
20 heads elderflowers
1 lemon, zest
125g sugar

Remove the zest from the lemon with a microplane or zester. (Tip: if you are not going to use the rest of the lemon soon, slice it up and pop it in the freezer. It makes lovely lemon ‘ice cubes’ for summer drinks.)

Place the blossoms in a large jar and add the sugar and lemon zest. Pour over the vodka, stir and replace the lid.

Shake daily for two weeks and then place in a cool dark place to infuse for at least two months. Strain through a muslin lined sieve and pour into clean, labelled bottles. Alternatively, use gin or white rum.

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Elderflower vinegar

12 heads elderflowers
500 ml white wine or champagne vinegar

This delicious vinegar can be used to make salad dressings, as a cordial (with something sweet added: sugar, agave, maple syrup, honey) and in home-made cosmetics including hair rinses and skin splashes.

Simply put the elderflowers and vinegar in a jar, replace the lid and shake. Allow the vinegar to infuse for two weeks, sharing daily then strain through a sieve lined with muslin or a jelly bag and pour into a clean, labelled bottle. You can use cider vinegar if you prefer.

To make a skin toner, use the same method but replace the vinegar with witch hazel.

Elderflower oil

1 part elderflowers
3 parts (I used half olive and half grapeseed)

Place your elderflowers in a jar. Fill with approximately 3 times as much oil. It doesn’t have to be exact, but if you prefer weigh the elderflowers and measure out three times that quantity of oil. Stir and place something on top to help keep the elderflowers submerged, such as a plastic canning lid. Leave in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks.

Strain through a muslin lined sieve and pour into a clean labelled jar. The oil can be used in the kitchen, but I mainly make it to make soaps, salves and other body products. Elderflower oil is soothing, anti-inflammatory and kind to the skin.

Elderflower sugar

You will need:

elderflowers
sugar

Layer sugar and elderflower blossoms alternately in a jar. When full, stir and replace the lid. Leave for two weeks, stirring occasionally to break up any lumps.

This sugar is delicious in baking, as a topping and to fragrantly sweeten beverages.

Dried elderflowers

I still had some elderflower heads left, so I lined a blue plastic mushroom crate with a clean tea towel, spread the blossom over the base and popped it in the airing cupboard. It will take a week or two to dry. When the blossoms are quite dry, pour into a clean labelled jar. Use to make elderflower tea or infusions for homemade skin care products.

Further Resources

Books

The Creative Kitchen
by Stephanie Hafferty

No Dig Organic Home and Garden
by Stephanie Hafferty and Charles Dowding

Articles

No Dig Garden Tour – Abundance after 1 year

Four Recipes, One Butternut Squash

How to Make Fruit Cordials, Naturally

About the Author

Stephanie Hafferty is a no dig gardener, writer and author of The Creative Kitchen and coauthor of No Dig Organic Home and Garden.