Wednesday, 15 June 2011

~ Elderflower ~

Our Boy is happy. It's the time of the Elderflower again and for the past four days our house has had the bewitching, dreamy, lazy~summer~evenings smell of this creamy exquisite flower curling around its rooms.

Every year I make twelve litres of cordial, which he almost single~handedly consumes over the next few has yet to last him a year! 

I love the whole process of it.....wildcrafting from trees abundant with the blooms.....

saying a silent thank you to the Mother Elder

 ~ asking permission from each tree before beginning ~ 

Picking the flowers that shine out from the rest, as they let me know they are the ones I can take, then saying thank you and leaving an offering....I cut little pieces of my hair as that is what feels right for me.

I have been making this for the last nineteen summers and I love how the annual ritual has brought an efficiency to the process. Although I am mindful as I work, I do not need to think about what I am body has the memory of the practice deep in its bones...the same as when I give a massage.

Today was bottling day and it is ultimately satisfying to have fifteen green, ceramic~topped beauties ~ and one little clear one ~  filled with sweet, tangy deliciousness lined up in the cupboard.

The Elder is one of my favourite herbs and, as Our Boy seems to get one bout of very high fever every winter (except when we home~schooled him for four years!), I always use the dried flowers in an infusion...along with yarrow and boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) help control the high temperature.
Early autumn brings the pleasure of making a tincture out of the Elderberries....

I love to make our herbal medicines and Sambucus is one I always keep in supply. It has the desirable action of disabling the flu virus. Apparently it makes the needle-like protrusions that the virus uses to pierce our cells, soft and jelly-like, thus rendering them useless. It has the added bonus of being warming and comforting when we are feeling ill.

On~going in the kitchen is Kombucha and, more recently, Kefir~making. The Kombucha is like a fine pear cider at the moment, and the three of us need a regular turn~over of eight litres. I seem to be bottling every other day.

It took me a little time to get used to the smell and taste of Kefir, but now I am enjoying it....especially for breakfast, poured over blueberries.....and in a few days it will be our very own raspberries....there were nine ripe today....yay.

What do you like to make in your kitchen?


  1. Elder is such a special plant. I love how you are asking the Elder Mother for permission. I made an elderberry, nettle and honey elixir a couple of years ago - just juicing the berries and herbs and adding them to heated honey. it was/is powerful stuff.

  2. Oh that elixir sounds great. I did the same with a spring tonic...nettle, cleavers and dandelion in heated honey.

    I'm going to make your elderberry and nettle this year I think....thank you. x x

  3. oh helen, this sounds so lovely. i'd like to start on this path... are there any books or resources you'd recommend? especially the elderflower cordial and tincure...

  4. Helen! Oh, this was wonderful. I've never made a cordial, I assume non-alcoholic?, with elderflower, only tincture, honey, etc. Just last night, I used the last 2 1/2 cups of frozen elderberries from last year to make a fruit crisp, but wasn't crazy about it, unfortunately.

  5. Hi Drucilla ~ will look forward to hearing how you get on x x

    Hi woman with wings ~ I will email you the recipe if you like? I am hoping our tree will have enough elderberries this year for me to make even a small amount of would mean much.

  6. Helen, I'd love the recipe. Thank you!-- Peggy

  7. Oh, it looks funny up there.

  8. hello my name is Terri I live on the Mountain in British Columbia. There is a big Elder Flower Tree right next to us, the flowers are all out right now and I would love to make medicine with them. I hear alot of talk of the berry being used. Where is the medicine strongest in the flower or the berry?

    and may I request a recipe to make such medicine from you please?

    Many blessings to you and the greater community that includes all beings around you.


  9. Always good to meet another elderflower cordial maker...! It's such a lovely thing to do - my Mum took my sister and I to gather elderflowers when we were little, now it's something I do with my children. And boy, do they love cordial (I think the truck-load of sugar in the recipe I use might have something to do with it!) Best wishes to you, hope your little guy enjoys the cordial.

    1. hi alderandash and thank you for visiting. The library's filter is finally allowing us to sign in to our blogs....YAY.

      There's a lot of sugar in the recipe I use too.

      Ha! The little guy isn't so little now, but he still wants his fix! He moved out just before I made the cordial this year, so there was an Elderflower flat-warming :~))) His friends LOVE it, so I am having to eek it out at a bottle a month (!), or it would all be gone in no time!
      Hope you are having a great summer.