Within a week the UK is covered in the the tiny fragrant flowers of elderflower. This small handful of lacey flowers were picked in Oxford near the train station. This weekend I’ll make cordial and then use that cordial to flavour gooseberry jam.
This Meadowsweet is growing in my local area in a small area of public grassland which is not tended by Birmingham City Council. Meadowsweet is a perennial plant growing native to Europe but also found in North America. It is a commonly used as a hedgerow herb which is more well-known for its small yellow clouds of flowers, at present this plant was not flowering but the leaves could be used to flavour wine, beer and vinegars. I will go back to this patch of grassland to pick the flowers which will then be used to make a cordial.
Becky and I yesterday walked for what seemed a long distance but was really only a few miles taking in the views of the Shropshire countryside from the rock hills of Stiperstones ridge, we watched the clouds change with the weather whilst being treated to a natural landscape which reminded me of how beautiful British countryside can be.
On the decline we picked a carrier bag full of Gorse flowers, it was a warm day so the smell of Gorse was in the breeze which gave off the scent of coconut and Summer holidays. Gorse can be found all over the British countryside, it flowers throughout the year but it’s best to pick new blossom in April or May. It’s also a very spiny bush, we didn’t have gloves but I would recommend using some when picking.
Today I used the flowers to make a syrup for a cordial or to be drizzled over vanilla ice cream. Below is a simple recipe which has a few different recipes amalgamated off the Internet.
Gorse Flower Syrup
- 4 handfuls of gorse flowers or half a carrier bag full
- 250g of caster sugar
- 1 lemon juiced and the zest of 1 orange.
- 500ml of water
Boil on a rolling boil the sugar and water for 10 minutes to create a syrup, after the 10 minutes in a large bowl pour the sugar syrup over the gorse flowers add the orange zest and lemon juice. Steep the flowers overnight or throughout the day. Once the petals have been steeped, place the flowers over another bowl and squash all the flowers through a fine sieve, add as much pressure as possible – there will be around 500ml of syrup with the recipe measurements. Pour into a sterilised bottle and store in a cool dark place.