Sheila from The Kitchen Garden Cooking School had an abundance of elder flowers outside her kitchen window and we were both looking forward to capturing the sweet fragrance in a bottled beverage. Like any garden ingredient, harvesting at the right moment makes all the difference. Luckily, the last week in June had the ideal ingredients: sunshine, heat and bees a buzzing – it was time! I went to her beautiful farm and we negotiated with the honey bees to cut 50 giant heads of elderflower – it was a good year for this shrub. With our bags of blossoms filled, we sat inside her farmhouse kitchen cutting the stems and shaking out the little bugs who enjoy the sweet nectar as much as we do. Water was boiled, sugar stirred until dissolved. When cooled, the juice and zest of 4 lemons were added with 8 T vinegar and 40-50 large elderflower heads. Feeling almost accomplished, I left Sheila to her other garden activities and came back the next day for the filtered refreshing treat. We celebrated the occasion of our first batch by adding the variegated pineapple mint and picking the sweet peas abundantly in bloom. Now we have jars in the freezer and one in the refrigerator to share with friends at a moments notice. Perhaps I will make ice cubes with borage flowers for the next time you come by for a cocktail!

Elderflower - I'm thirsty
Elderflower - I'm thirsty
A pile of flowers and little biddy bugs
A pile of flowers and little biddy bugs
This pot is making me thirsty
This pot is making me thirsty
After a day and some straining, enjoy with ice, pellegrino, mint and a friend
After a day and some straining, enjoy with ice, pellegrino, mint and a friend

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