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Elderflower or Not?

Posted by Rachel - Ashburton 
Elderflower or Not?
November 19, 2008 03:18AM
On our farm we have several trees which look to me like elderflowers. The flowers look like elderflowers, and have a strong floral smell, but will I cause myself irreprable damage if I try to make cordial with them? I'm having trouble with my camera so can't post a photo...
Re: Elderflower or Not?
November 19, 2008 03:58AM
Do they look like this Rachel? []
Re: Elderflower or Not?
November 19, 2008 04:33AM
I don't know what else they could be - it's the right time for them. The scent is nothing like the ultimate taste when they are made into cordial. In fact the scent from the flowers is almost unpleasant. Kerry's photo above makes the individual flowers look significant - they are tiny, but the panicle (is that the word? and if it isn't what is it?) of many many tiny flowers can be 12 cm across.
Re: Elderflower or Not?
November 19, 2008 04:37AM
That is exactly what they look like. I was worried that there may be more than one species with the same flower heads. Don't want to cause myself a mischief! I think I'll make my first batch of Elderflower cordial tomorrow :-)
Re: Elderflower or Not?
November 19, 2008 04:40AM
If you happen to be going near a garden centre they would be happy to identify the leaf and flower for you - that would help remove the fear factor for you.
Re: Elderflower or Not?
November 19, 2008 05:38AM
They do make a stunning champagne.
Re: Elderflower or Not?
November 21, 2008 09:27AM
Stephanie - the flower of the european elderberry is a compound cyme. Technical huh?

A panicle would be something like a lilac flower.

Yes, elderberry champagne is rather nice. smiling smiley

Re: Elderflower or Not?
November 21, 2008 09:03PM
Thank you, AnnieW! A compound cyme. Not easy to toss into everyday conversation.

I do wonder how Rachel's cordial is coming along - the microscopic bugs which live in the elderflowers can be difficult to eliminate - several layers of muslin in the sieve is a good idea.

So AnnieW, is a cauliflower cymiferous?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/2008 10:00PM by Stephanie T.
Re: Elderflower or Not?
November 23, 2008 09:41AM
Yikes Stephanie!

I know the head of the caulilower is made up of lots of immature flowers and if you leave it it will flower, but I will have to pass on whether it is a cyme or not.

I can tell you that Mark Twain said that 'cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education'.

Nothing whatsoever to do with elderflowers! smiling smiley
Re: Elderflower or Not?
November 24, 2008 12:39AM
I decided to bite the bullet and make the cordial. I wasn't sure I liked it to begin with, as the fragrance was very strong, but the taste is growing on me. Have fed it to the family and DH & DD2 love it. We are all still alive & kicking despite my initial fears :-) I am going to attempt an Elderflower Champagne recipe today. My Rhubarb Champagne will be ready on Friday so I am really looking forward to tasting that. I can't wait until my Elders produce berries so I can make lots of summery jam! I get my recipes from the 'Homegrown' series by NZ Gardener Magazine. I'm a recent convert, and like other types of converts I preach my new addiction to all within earshot! I'm now off to water my veges. Ain't life grand!
Re: Elderflower or Not?
November 29, 2008 11:34PM
I wish I had veges to water! Thanks to bunnies,hens,pukekoes and all the others we have very little left in the vege patch.Since we lost Sam[our standard poodle] it is open season in our garden to anything that wants to dine!
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