There are a lot of elder trees with generous displays of flowers all around our local area, so we collected a carrier-bag full and tried to make some cordial. There were a fair few bugs that needed to be removed from the flower heads, then we steeped them in boiling water and left them overnight, with the zest of a few oranges and lemons. The next day we added sugar and water and brought to the boil, then bottled in very sticky bottles.
All posts in Preserving
- Bottled elderflower cordial
- Dissolving sugar
- Steeping flower heads
- Elderflower heads and citrus zest
- Bagful of elderflower heads
- Straining beech leaves
- Finished liqueur
The beech leaves have been steeping in gin for a couple of weeks now, so we’ve taken them out and strained the liquid through muslin, and added a little sugar water, and we now have the lightly tasting and slightly golden liqueur.
The last of our pickled onions, pickled beetroot and sweet cucumber pickle.
- Beech leaf infusion
- The contents of the pickle cupboard
We have been foraging for beech leaves, as we thought we would follow an old recipe for a gin infusion. We have collected up a carrier bag of beech leaves, brand new as they are just appearing on the trees, and put them in a jar with a bottle of gin to steep for a few weeks. The colour is vivid at first, but has dimmed as the infusion steeps.
- Sliced cucumbers with onion and bronze fennel
- Bottled pickle
- Sliced cucumber
It’s always difficult to find something to do with a cucumber. We’ve tried pickling cucumber before, and it wasn’t all that nice. The contrast between the tough skin and the soft watery interior perhaps adds to the problem. This time we have tried a sweet pickle, and sliced the cucumber very thinly. The thin slices are mixed with thinly sliced onion, a little bronze fennel (the recipe calls for dill but we only have bronze fennel on our herb bench) and sugar and white wine vinegar. The thin slices should mean the pickle will fit into sandwich fillings.
- Chopped oranges soaked overnight
- Boil oranges
- Sugar and lemon juice added, and a vigorous boil until it gets to 104.5 C
- Marmalade into jars
I actually looked all over for Seville oranges to make marmalade, as I believe they arrive in the shops around mid January to February. I couldn’t find any, so bought a few sweet oranges instead, and tried a recipe from the River Cottage Preserves handbook by Pam Corbin. We juiced the oranges and then chopped up the rind fairly thin, then soaked it overnight. Then boiled it up, added a little lemon juice and demerara sugar and then added a single measure of Irish whiskey after the setting point has been reached.
- Cutting and salting lemons
- Stuffed into a salty jar
I came across a recipe the other day for chicken with preserved lemons, and didn’t know what preserved lemons are, so I thought I might investigate and try some. It seems it is the right time of year to be preserving citrus fruits. I’ve cut up some unwaxed lemons so that they are still joined at the ends, but have large slits down the side. These are filled with salt, and then they are stuffed into a jar with more salt, and lemon juice, and a few peppercorns and coriander seeds, and a couple of bay leaves. And then left for a few weeks, when I might be able to try the chicken recipe.