I found myself in the woods again the other day…
… my basket and secateurs in hand, stinging nettle burns on my arms, shiny black berries overhead – most too high to reach!
So this year there will be only one bottle of elderberry liqueur…but that is all we need after having already made apple, lemon verbena, herb, and elderflower liqueurs this year.
Elderberries are full of vitamin C, but must be cooked as they are slightly poisonous if eaten raw. They have a lovely flavour, but can be rather sour and seedy. This liqueur, however, is delicious. I’m not sure if any of the vitamins survive being drowned in all that sugar and alcohol, but we can pretend!
Here’s the recipe: double the quatities if you can get a kilo of berries!
- 500g (1 lb) elderberries (weighed after removing stalks)
- 500ml (2 cups) vodka
- 175g (3/4 cup) white sugar
- 2 tbsps vanilla sugar
Remove the berries from the heads using a fork… it doesn’t matter if some of the stalks are still attached. Wash the berries and put in a large saucepan. Add a very little water, just enough to cover the base of the pan, and then add the sugar and vanilla sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Put in a sterilized jar and cover with the alcohol. Seal and let stand in a warm place for 4 weeks.
Then sieve, and filter through a fine muslin cloth. It should really stand another 2 months to develop its flavour, but already tastes pretty good!
Keeps for about another 6 months after maturing, but really you should drink it up while the weather’s cold! It’s good for you!